14/12/2011 Newsnight


With Jeremy Paxman. Who is telling the truth in the latest tabloid phone hacking row? And why Labour should be doing better in the polls.

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Tonight, who knew what and when, in the phone hacking scandal.


Could James Murdoch really have been unaware? Why did the Guardian


claim the News of the World deleted voice messages when they had no


evidence. The author of the Guardian investigation faces a


former News of the World executive and the television presenter, Anne


Diamond, tell us what it is like to be pursued by the tabloids. Will


the coalition split over Europe and the economy stalling, you think


these might be good times to be an opposition leader, so how can the


Prime Minister get away with shots like this. We all know he has


achieved one thing e has completely united his party. Every single one


of them has asked Santa for one thing, a new leader for Christmas.


Is the tide going out on Ed Milliband? Nearly nine years after


the invasion of Iraq, President Obama calls a symbolic end to


American combat forces there. How big a power is the United States in


the 21st century world? Lord Leveson, the man charged with


the public washing of much of the newspaper industry's dirty laundry,


asked the police today, to find out once and for all f they can, how


voice mails on Milly Dowler's phone came to be wiped. It was the


Guardian newspaper's claim, stated as fact, that they had been erased


by the News of the World, which triggered the shutdown of what was


once the biggest-selling paper in the English speaking world. But the


story wasn't true, or the hacking was true, the deleting was just


theory. The last editor of the News of the World was up at the Leveson


Inquiry to take his punishment today. We report now on where we


are. The most far-reaching inquiry into


the ethics of the press, led by the most senior judge in the land.


Featuring witnesses drawn from the world of celebrity. From the News


of the World itself. A newspaper brought down by the work of one


Manchester solicitor, who revealed how a murdered schoolgirl's phone


had been hacked. When the Guardian newspaper


revealed in July that News of the World had hacked Milly Dowler's


phone and voice mail messages had been deleted. The wave of public


revulsion was such that the paper was forced to close. The Guardian


had suggested a News of the World had deleted messages to create room


for new ones, which would then form the basis for stories for News of


the World. But that allegation is now at the centre of a huge media


row. The fact that News of the World


hacked Milly Dowler's phone is not in dispute. Newsnight has fresh


evidence of this. In April 2002, News of the World was in contact


with Surrey Police, leading the investigation into her


disappearance. The paper thought a voice mail message left be by a


recruitment agency meant she was alive and had run away from home.


On the 20th of April, a senior News of the World executive wrote to


They had Milly Dowler's PIN code, and were listening to her phone


messages during a live police investigation. How tragic that


someone, who has not courted the news, but in the news because they


happened to be a murdered schoolgirl, the News of the World


were hacking a murdered schoolgirl's phone. What about the


allegation that the paper had deleted messages. Immediately after


her disappearance on the 21st of March, 2002, Milly Dowler's parents


phoned her but could leave no message because her messages were


fun. But three days later Sally Dowlre got through. I phoned her


and it clicked through so I heard her voice. I thought she's picked


up her voice mails, she's alive, it was then, really. All of Milly's


messages had been deleted, but in a recent statement to the Leveson


Inquiry, the Metropolitan Police said it was most likely they were


deleted automatically by her phone company. But the Dowlre's lawyer


denies this means the Guardian got it fundamentally wrong. We know the


News of the World had Milly Dowler's phone number. We know he


had the pin number and hacked messages. We know hacking messages


can delete messages, we don't know if he deleted the particular


messages that gave false hope. Metropolitan Police say they


probably didn't? That hasn't been proved. Last night as we were


filming Mark Lewis, he received a call from the Mail, asking if the


Dowler's should pay back money received from News International.


The question was sick, it actually was depraved, it was something I


told him he ought to be ashamed of himself. This morning, the Mail's


approach was raised at the Leveson's inquiry. Lord Justice


Leveson indicated that the facts surrounding the deletions must, if


possible, be revealed. I do entirely understand the


significance of the issue. I recognise that it is likely to be


in the public interest that this be Another important outstanding


question is what, if anything, did James Murdoch know about the wider


culture of phone hacking at News of the World? He's consistently told


parliament that his understanding was it was limited to one rogue


reporter, the former royal correspondent, Clive Goodman.


News of the World's former legal manager, Tom Crone, said he showed


James Murdoch an e-mail in 2008, that confirmed another journalist


was involved. I'm pretty sure I held up the front page of the e-


mail. I'm also pretty sure he already knew about it. And News


International has just admitted that James Murdoch was sent a


different e-mail in 2008, saying the situation was as bad as we


feared, and someone suing the company was intent on showing that


hacking was rife. Mr Murdoch says he responded in minutes without


It was a specific criminal act, the hacking of phones, that sparked the


Leveson Inquiry, but it has been the lurid tales of unethical


journalistic practice had a has been even more shocking. The use of


deception and invasion of privacy, is often justified on grounds of


public interest, where there is a bigger truth to be told. But some


of the evidence to the Leveson Inquiry has stretched the concept


of the public interest, way beyond breaking point.


Take Newsnight's story about News of the World putting the family of


lawyers investigating them for phone hacking under surveillance.


News International now admits that was completely unethical.


Take investigations into Charlotte Church's father, headlined


"Church's three in a bed cocaine shot" with her picture beside it.


Miss Church said her mother tried to kill herself. My parents who had


never been in the industry, apart from looking after me, were being


exposed and vilified in this fashion. Take the fact they paid


for details of her sex life, as a teenager. Why is it OK that an


editor or somebody senior in a newspaper could pay an unemployed


boy from Cardiff tens of thousands of pounds to reveal intimate sexual


details about another 17-year-old girl. This is not public interest


journalism as we know it? There was lots of public interest journalism,


every story we did had to abide by the PCC code. I was in features for


eight years and never had a PCC investigation over it. We looked


deeply at every story we did. Yes, there was salacious, celebrity-


driven content, but often with a public interest.


There were high points, for sure, cricket match-fixing and cash for


honours, but the Leveson Inquiry has produced shocking evidence of


deeply unethical practices with little or no public interest at all.


Anne Diamond and Lord Hunt chair of the Press Complaints Commission


will be talking soon. First we speak to the former head of


features at News of the World, and Nick Davies who wrote the original


Gardiner article about Milly Dowler's phone -- Guardian article


about Milly Dowler's phone. Because Mr Davies doesn't want to appear on


the same panel and Mr Casby didn't want to join us, he declined the


offer of a one-to-one interview. Let's cut to the chase, the central


allegation, the most scandalous of the lot, that a murdered girl's


voice mails were deleted by the News of the World, which you


claimed to be fact, it wasn't a fact? You are getting it all wrong


here. The story that we published in July was squarely based on all


of the evidence available, and was correct in saying that her voice


mail had been deleted, and it remains the case, that News


International are not denying that News of the World journalists may


have been responsible for those deletions. Let's put it up on the


wall. You are missing the point. The audience can judge for


themselves. Let's look at the front page. News of the World hacking


Milly Dowler's phone during police hunt. Then it is "paper deleted


missing schoolgirl's voice mails giving the family false hope", you


say the messages were deleted by journalists in the first few days


after Milly's disappearance. You don't know that. You are getting


the problem slightly wrong, you have misunderstood it. The problem


was whether or not they were responsible for deleting the


particular messages that caused the friends and family to have false


hope. That is now in doubt. If you just follow what is going through


here I will explain. Do you know for a fact what you state as a fact


in this article? Everybody who was involved in that story accepted it


was true. It is very interesting that when that story was


published...you are not allowing me to answer. No I'm not, you are not


answering. You have asked the wrong question, you see. I'm so sorry.


You have misunderstood the problem. I want to answer it. Was it true?


That story was, everybody involved with that story believed it was


true. The day after I published that story I sat down for two hours


with Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator at the centre of this


thing. He issued an apology, he didn't disagrow with a single word,


News International didn't deny it. You stated it as a fact rather than


a police belief? Everybody involved in that story accepted that story


was true, and continued to accept it, until, four months later, new


evidence that was not available to everybody's surprise, showed that


one element of that story is now in doubt. It has not been proved to be


true. It is a key element. Just like Mark Lewis said, it is in


doubt. You don't report it as a belief, you report it as a fact?


And everybody accepted that it was true. The police accepted it in


London and in Surrey, Mulcaire, the private investigator, News


International. It had the same level of certainty. It clearly


wasn't a fact, you have just conceded it wasn't a fact, you said


people thought it was true? They accepted it was true, nobody


dissented from it. New evidence, not available at that time. In


retrospect it is now in doubt. They are not saying it isn't true. You


are still getting it wrong. They are saying it is conceivable but


unlikely that the News of the World was responsible for that particular


deletion. It was an allegation he repeated 34 times as well. This


wasn't any old story, this was the story that was the most important


story in the Guardian's history. It was vital every single element of


it should be right. Let's get things in proportion, your


newspaper had hacked a murdered girl's telephone? I'm not here, I


don't believe the News of the World has been exonerated. What we did


was indefensible, not just to Milly, but all the victims of hacking, I'm


not here to justify that, I'm here to attack the shoddy journalism of


the Gardiner and Nick. He said it was -- of the Guardian and nick. He


said it was believed by everyone to be true, there was a statement by


News International at the end saying we are looking into it. They


were a rabbit caught in headlights, they had been caught out misleading


people with the one rogue reporter theory, we weren't going to make


that mistake again. They weren't confirming anything to anyone.


you think they should have been closed down? I'm not here to defend


the News of the World, I'm here to atact Nick's journalism, it is not


just down to this story. Just a week later after this sensational


claim, he claims, in a front page story again, that the Sun hacked


into Gordon Brown's medical records to reveal his son's cystic fibrosis.


The Gardiner did apologise for that story. That could have had the same


effect on the Sun that Milly had on the News of the World. This man


accused widespread criminality at your newspaper, he should be


applauded for that? There is parts of the Guardian investigation that


is great, but the other media, which has treated what the Guardian


has said as fact, for the last five months, it is only now that that


the Guardian's journalism is coming under scrutiny. A lot was fact?


lot was fact, but there was significant smears and untruths.


have published more than a hundred stories revealing immoral, criminal


behaviour by the newspaper where you worked for 15 years. Just look,


for example, at the Gordon Brown story which you have just raised.


Gordon Brown's wife Sarah gave birth to a child, the doctors said


this child appears to have a very serious illness wrecks need more


tests. During that period when they were waiting to confirm it, the


Sun's discovered the confidential information about this sick boy.


Any decent newspaper would say we can't publish this, that newspaper


chose to. That put enormous stress on those parents. I have


interviewed Gordon Brown on the record. He says when the Sun


decided to publish that information, he and Sarah Brown were in tears.


Subsequently we published a story about it, we didn't say the Sun


obtained that Bihacing, you have just made that up. Let me finish.


The Sun gained access to confidential medical information,


at one point in the story I used a different term of words, I said


"gained access to confidential medical records", I couldn't prove


they got to the file. This is the difference. The Guardian corrected


and apologised that. When did the Sun apologiseor doing that cruel


and inhumane thing to those parents whose sick child will grow up and


discover all these horrible stories about his past. I'm not here to


defend the ethics of the Sun and the News of the World, I'm here to


take the shoddy journalism of the Guardian. You have misrepresented


what we said in the Gordon Brown story, it is a matter of wording.


On the Gordon Brown story. don't you apologiseor it. You have


never apologised for the terrible things. Words matter. We have


apologised for it on this show, and every senior executive has


apologised, Rupert Murdoch said it was the most humble day of his life.


Where is your humility in this. have huge humility, I'm not saying


we are exonerated in any way. are in a heap of trouble, for years


you have taken Murdoch's money and invaded and ruined people's lives,


and engaged in criminal activity. You have had private investigators


who have broken the law, haven't you, would you like a list of the


people. Let's go through the lists of the hundreds of Observer


journalists that made requests. hired a private investigator who


was doing illegal things to get information, isn't that true. Why


won't you admit the truth, isn't it time for some humility. Didn't you


hire a private investigator. the Observer journalist doss it,


and the current Guardian journalists. You accuse me of


shoddy journalism, and your name is all over of a private investigator


convicted of using illegal means, information about Anne Robinson,


about John Penros and Anna Friel. Let's name some of the Garden


journalists. I want to broaden this and move it on. Anne Diamond you


have personal experience of being on the receiving end of this sort


of attention from the tabloid press. You had a personal tragedy with


your child. Tell us what happened? I must say I just find it


unbelievable that anyone from the News of the World can sit there and


be outraipbled that somebody might have got a fact wrong, that


somebody might have misrepresented them in some way, that someone


might not have apologised fully. That is incredible to hear. Now you


now what it feels like. My particular story then, according to


Rupert Murdoch's butler, I was targeted by News International in a


very early stage, because I took Rupert Murdoch to task for the


behaviour for some of his newspapers. It came to a head when


1991 my little boy died. We knew, my husband and I knew that we knew


the level of press interest there would be. Mindful of the fact that


Eric Clapton son's had died a year before, and the funeral had become


a press circus. Newspaper photographers and reporters were


falling over other people's gravestones and trampling flowers


to get a picture of Eric and his girlfriend at the funeral. We wrote


to every Fleet Street editor and said please stay away, this is an


incredibly private moment. A photographer did turn up. Within a


couple of hours of the funeral, my husband was rung by the editor of


the Sun, and they said we have a photograph, it is incredibly strong


we want to use it. My husband begged them not to use it. They ran


it all over the front page the next day. What has gone wrong in the


culture of the media in this country? It is partially


commercially run riot, to sell papers, it is partly this deeply


self-perceived culture in the paper that everything we do is right, we


are above the law. It doesn't matter if the High Courts say it is


a grotesque invasion of Max Mosley's privacy. They have set the


agenda for themselves for so many years, we live in a press world now


where the climate, the values have been distorted by the worst


journalists there. I'm a journalist myself, I'm a print journalist by


training, I'm ashamed of the some of the things they have done. They


have been allowed so long it has set the climate. How can you live


in it? I won't justify what happened to Anne. I'm as moved and


upset by what she's saying as anyone else. It happened 20 years


ago. This is one thing t happened over a long period. I am not alone.


You are the features editor of the News of the World, how does it


feel? There is lots of fantastic public interest journalism we did.


Nobody disputes that? Things went wrong. I'm not here to justify what


happened to Anne 20 years ago at the hands of the Sun under a


completely previous regime. And the News of the World, not just the Sun


or the News of the World. It was a culture you guys were allowed to


set. What was it went wrong? People made mistakes, there is no doubt


about it. This was industrial scale phone hacking? I'm not here to


justify that, I don't think the News of the World has been


exonerated. I think, you can justify the closure of the paper,


even. I'm not here to do that. I was here to talk about the Guardian


getting things wrong and the Guardian misrepresenting. Now you


know how it feels. Just a little tiny glimmer, that is all you are


getting of what you have put other people through for many, many years,


now you know how it feels. It feels a sense of moral outrage. That is


what I see from you today. And that's what so many people have


felt for so long. You are still playing the same tabloid distortion


game. We publish more than 100 stories, confirmed in evidence by


police and inquiries and in civil actions and you pick on two error,


one of them very significant in the Milly Dowler story, one of them


really minor in the Gordon Brown story, and you distort the truth


and try to pretend that means we are guilty of shoddy journalism.


least you are accepting the errors. The distortion is wrong. Take a


leaf out of Rupert Murdoch's book and get humble, or go quiet, people


don't believe you any more. We will not be bullied by people like you


any more, we have had enough of you. You have just taken over as head of


the Press Complaints Commission, it is a hopeless task, isn't it?


of all, you have to recognise that the press is not being regulated.


The body I have inherited, the Press Complaints Commission has no


regulatory powers at all. I come in as a lawyer, specialising in


regulation, everyone I say this to agrees. So we don't have a system


at the moment. I have resolved that we will now have a system and it is


up to me to put it forward. How are you going to do it? First


of all, listening to the tragic stories, coming out of not just


Lord Justice Leveson. You haven't got teeth? Listening to the tragic


stories, like the ones we have just heard, and acknowledging, as I


think, all of us would, that we are proud of the freedom of the press


in this country. We are proud of investigative journalism, Anne


knows that a number of stories came in behind causes that she was


pushing. So we have to preserve that. But we have to have some


regulation, we have to have some standards. That is going to be my


job, to find a way of persuading people, not just in parliament, not


just in the press but the public, that we can have a system of self-


regulation of the press. Do you believe in self-regulation? No, I


don't. All the years I have spent, when I went into broadcast


journalism in the end. I used to think why is there one set of rules


for the press and another set of rules entirely for broadcast


journalists. Broadcast journalists are still able to do fantastic


investigative journalism, wonderful campaigning, the standard of


journalism is still very high in the BBC and elsewhere. Are you in


favour of a Ofcom for newspapers? think so, for the press. The power


to fine the stories? The popular press have nothing to fear from


this. They need to embrace it. We could all pull up the standards of


the popular press in this country. Not through statute, I don't like


the idea of putting the press in the hands of the politicians.


have had 20-odd years of self- regulation, and it hasn't worked.


We had the press council before that, that didn't work either.


don't think we have ever had proper regulatory control, even from


within the press, or even from independent sources. Do you worry


about what some of the consequences may be. The consequences for


investigative journalism for a free press? There has been some nasty


backlash and bad ideas put about. There has been a crackdown within


police forces to try to stop any kind of unauthorised contact


between police officers and journalists. That is a very, very


bad move. I don't want to live in a world where the only information we


can get out of a police force or Government department is what is


authorised by the boss. That is the kind of information tyranny that


you create. Unauthorised contact is central to the free press. So there


are nasty bits of backlash going on. That is not to deny the problem. I


have stopped believing in the self- regulation of the press.


Principally because of the grotesque failure of the PCC over


the phone hacking scandal. Twice they produced report, my editor


described them as "worse than useless" that was kind. There was a


structural failure in there. This is not a bunch of starchy nannies


sitting around in Holland Park eating digestive biscuits and


hoping they are obeying the rules, this is a deeply competitive


industry, routinely breaking the law and stabbing each other's backs


in order to sell newspapers. You are not interested in being


regulated are you. Let's pause for a moment, you condemn the PCC, many


people have, and have said it many times. I look at the PCC and say to


myself what regulatory powers does it have. What powers of


investigation? The answer is none. In a way the PCC is being judged by


powers that it never had. I have got to work out how we can have


shows powers, within an independent, self-regulatory system, that is


what I have set my task to do. investigation and enforcement,


there are two different problems to get to the truth and enforce.


reconvene this later. It is a truth universally


acknowledged that the weekly Punch and Judy show in Westminster has


taken a lot more seriously by the political masters than normal human


beings. How they perform at Prime Minister's Questions, and it was


the last of the year today, can determine whether a party leader


lives or dies. Today, given what he obviously thought was a golden


opportunity, Ed Milliband was left looking like a man who chooses his


best suit and tie for a job interview, and then enters the room


realising he has forgotten to put his trousers on.


Hi everybody. Hi daddy. Apparently when Ed Milliband goes to the


United States, he gets mistaken for this chap, star of the hit HBO


comedy, Everbody Loves Raymond. And, well, you can kind of see why.


was your day? There was, though, no mistakes Mr Miliband for a comedian


today. His attempted gag ended up coming right back at him.


Let me say, it is good to see the Deputy Prime Minister back among us.


The Labour leader might have thought he had some promising


material to work with, after the row between the PM and his deputy


over the EU veto. Calm down, calm down. This is what he said, this is


what he said in his new year's message for 2011, I will place a


copy in the library of the House, Mr Speaker, just so everyone can


see it. This is what he said, "coalition politics is not always


straight forward, but I believe we are bringing in a whole new style


of Government ". Mr Speaker there is more, there is more. "a more


collegiate approach", Mr Speaker, I'm bound to ask, what has gone


wrong. I will answer. I will answer. Look,


look, no-one in this House is going to be surprised that Conservatives


and Liberal Democrats don't always agree about Europe. But let me


reassure him, he shouldn't believe everything he reads in the papers.


No, it is not that bad, I mean it is not like we're brothers or


anything! More. More. He certainly walked into that one.


Mr Speaker, Mr Speaker, ...The Labour leader did the best to


recover, but you could see the pain all over the faces on the Labour


benches. Of course anyone can have a bad


PMQs, but the worry concerning Labour MPs as they head towards the


Christmas holiday is this. With the economy flatlining, the


Government's deficit reduction programme not working, and public


splits in the coalition that you could comfortably drive a bus


through, why on earth aren't we doing a whole lot better. Dan


Hodges used to be an adviser to the Labour Party. Today's PMQ was bad


for Ed Milliband, but the key turning point was the Autumn


Statement. Labour MPs were hoping and praying that would be the


moment where the public rumbled what they see as the George Osborne


failed economic strategy, and start to embrace Labour's, the reverse is


the case. The Tories are increased their lead in terms of economic


competence, and eradicated Labour's opinion poll lead. That is the


thing that is really now terrifying Labour MPs. What they are saying,


is we can't beat the Tories and get a significant lead over the Tories


now, with this cascade of bad news, how are we going to do it in two or


three years time when the economy, even sluggishly starting to improve.


Indeed the polls at the moment are no joke for Ray's British lookalike,


everybody, it seems, does not love Ed. When compared with other


leaders of the opposition, Ed Milliband's net approval rating is


worse than David Cameron or Tony Blair's were at at this point. Only


Iain Duncan Smith, Michael Howard, and William Hague did worse, and


they never made it to Number Ten. When you look at how his polling


splits up, it is clear what happens. A large number of the "don't knows"


at the start of the Miliband leadership has disappeared, but


they have decided they don't like him. What sort of qualities do the


public see as Ed Milliband possessing or not possessing?


one area where he still scores reasonably well is being regarded


in touch with ordinary people, not too bad on honesty. Where his


ratings really fall down are things like being strong, decisive, good


in a crisis, a the natural qualities of a leader. Those


figures are really very low. It is very hard to win an election in


opposition with a leader with those kinds of scores.


That is what I was going to say. too. I'm sorry. Maybe the Labour


leader should take some solace from regime mond, he may get in a few


scrapes but he -- Raymond, but he may get into a couple of scrapes


but he usual comes good in the end. Hilary Benn is with us. Do you


think he's doing a good job? I do. Why isn't he more popular? Look we


had our second worst election defeat in 2010. If you reflect on


what's happened since then, we have 65,000 more members, 850 more


councillors. We have won four by- elections, but it is a long haul.


Why not polling better than the Conservatives, unemployment is


rising, the economic strategy is not working, the Prime Minister has


delivered something the Deputy Prime Minister has said is bad for


Britain? Most of the years you know we have been ahead in the polls.


You are not now? No, and there may be a short-term effect from what


happened last week. In the end it is the character of leaders that


will win out. And David Cameron's problem is that he his economic


policy is not working, as is now evident, and the British public are


beginning to see that, but it will take time for the full failure of


that to become clear. Let's discuss David Cameron's problems with unof


his friends, you are Ed Milliband's friend and I want to talk about his


problems with you. How is it that a third of Labour voters are


dissatisfied with his performance? Look, the country is going through


a tough time. We lost an election. What happened in the past is bound


to be reflected in part, in how people perceive Labour now. But,


really important questions are, who is thinking about the future of the


country. So you assert...I'm Reflecting on the riveting item on


the programme there. Who demonstrated courage in the course


of the year in taking on News International, breaking with the


politic consensus there for a very long time, it was Ed Milliband, and


David Cameron was left following in his wake. You must acknowledge that.


In the interests of clarity, can you tell us what your position is


then on David Cameron's wielding of the veto in Brussels the other


night? Well it wasn't a veto was it. I will tell you what our position


is, a veto is intended to stop something happening. You would have


signed the pact would you? there wasn't a treaty. Is there a


treaty, I don't know if Newsnight has hold of a copy of the treaty.


The right thing for the Prime Minister to have done would be to


stay in the room, make sure British interests are protected and the


truth is, he has walked away. These negotiations will continue and


Britain will not be there. We have handed over, actually, power to the


French and Germans, that is a reflection of his weak negotiating


position and the fact he's derfied of his backbenchers. If --


Terrified of his backbenchers. your leader was Prime Minister,


what would we have agreed to? would have put in the work before


the negotiations, there is no good in turning up as the Prime Minister


and throwing down some demands and saying if you don't agree I'm off.


We should be there trying to protect British interests. Would


you have agreed to the treaty changes or not? There isn't a


treaty in place, there isn't even a draft treaty, is there. If Britain


had agreed it, there would have been a draft treaty? There is not a


draft treaty. Clearly there isn't now? Now they will have to


negotiate it. This will happen over the next few months. That is a


position Ed Milliband would have put us in? We need to be there to


protect British interests, no party leader will agree to anything not


in the British interests. By absenting himself he has put


Britain in a difficult and dangerous position. Your's is a


kind of in and out position, the hokey cokey approach? It is not, it


is about defending the national interest, but making sure we are


there at the table. You cannot do that if you are not part of the


negotiation. Isn't the truth that the only thing we know about Ed


Milliband is his struggle with his brother, that is why David


Cameron's joke worked so well? microclimate of Westminster people


can laugh at Prime Minister's Questions. It is the only thing


they know about him? David Cameron remind me of other Conservative


leaders, he has bad judgment and good jokes. Ed Milliband is the


only one thinking about the future of the country, what we will do


once the deficit is dealt with. He understands the change that brought


about the economic crisis we face, that is what the speech to


conference was about this year. A lot of people are saying he's on to


something. You will stick to him through thick and thin? I certainly


will, I backed him from the start. He showed courage and determination,


he doesn't flinch when the going is tough, he's the right person to


lead us into the next election and he will.


President Obama thanked American troops for their service in Iraq


today. A symbolic end to the deployment of combat forces there.


This dumb war, as Obama called it, has cost America the lives of 4,500


of its citizens, to say nothing of over a trillion dollars in cash and


the lives of uncounted Iraq year, all to destroy the regime of a man


who turned out not to have weapons of mass destruction and not to be


backing Al-Qaeda. Where does this campaign leave American power.


It has been an odyssey of pain, division, and as far as the US


troops were concerned, unbending commitment. But America's war in


Iraq is over. And the President who opposed it today tried to find the


right words for those who is predecessor had sent into harm's


way. It is harder to end a war than begin one. Indeed, everything that


American troops have done in Iraq. All the fighting, and all the dying,


the bleeding, and the building and the training and the partnering,


all of it has led to this moment of success.


Until even a few weeks ago it was assumed that a few thousand US


troops would remain to assist the Iraqis with special counciller


terrorist operations. As it became apparent that -- counter terrorist


operations. As it became apparent that negotiations to secure this


had failed, there was fury on the right, that is those who believed


it was worth fighting accused the administration of squandering its


sacrifices. The truth is, this administration was committed to the


complete withdrawal of US troops in Iraq and they made it happen.


Senator McCain that is simply not true. I guess you can believe that,


and I respect your beliefs. respect your opinion, but the


outcome has been exactly as predicted. That is not how it


happened. It is how it happened. This is about negotiating with the


sovereign country. An independent country, this was about their needs.


The view that the biggest beneficiary from the past nine


years has been Iran has currency on the other side of the political


argument too. They believe that President Bush's invasion destroyed


the peace of Iraq, and has allowed the country's neighbour to benefit


in all sorts of ways. There was a long standing expectation, going


back at least to the 1980s, that a relatively powerful Iraq posed a


necessary bulwark to prevent Iranian expansionism into the Arab


world. Well that bulwark has now been seriously weakened as a


consequence of the US intervention. Of course, the enormous cost of


Iraq has had a deterrent effect on future intervention abroad. Almost


4,500 US soldiers killed, more than 32,000 wounded, and some of these


figures are controversial, something approaching 150,000


Iraqis, who have died in the violence, and a bill of more than


$1 trillion. The US made disastrous mistakes at the start, but they did


learn quickly. With new tactics and a troop securing, at least they


were able to pre-- surge, at least they were able to prevent civil war.


The US forces to maintain a sense of discipline and cohesion, over


the course of these many years of combat, really is remarkable.


On the other hand, if we evaluate the performance of senior military


leaders, the people at three and four-star ranks, those who have


managed the war in Iraq, and are managing the war in Afghanistan


there, it seems to me, that there is considerable work to be done.


Falluja, where the Americans used their greatest force, there was


relief today that it was all over. Most Iraqis supported American


withdrawal, and will be glad for an end to what they regarded as


occupation. But, a few hundred US advisers


remain in a training role, and the two countries are vowing to


continue strategic co-operation. If you look at the demand for


energy in the future, and Iraq's capacity to meet some of that


demand, as significant as that is, frankly, not to mention the fact


that we are sitting on the western flank of a potentially nuclear


armed Iran. When you stop and think about it from a strategic


standpoint, it is maizeing how important this stick country is in


this -- amazing how important this particular country is in this


particular region. What remains at the end of this fight, a fractious


Iraq, in a dangerous region, and the United States chastened by the


sacrifice and force of unintended consequences, trying to forget the


enormous cost of what it did. To discuss the state of the


American foreign policy, from Stanford University, we are joined


by the former Bush policy adviser, and from New York, we are joined by


Ian Bremmre, er, President of the - - Bremer. Do you think the United


States, which leaves Iraq, is the United States, in any sense, in


terms of power, that went into Iraq? Oh sure, I think it is the


same in lots of senses. But I agree with the point of your question


which is that the costs of the Iraq war for the United States have been


so significant that I think it is quite unlikely we will choose to


solve problems elsewhere that they have solved by force in Iraq.


Do you see it the same way? More or less. I mean the United States has


the capacity if it wants to engage in your Iraq, even economically,


but there is no way Americans would support it. Libya is a much better


example of what the United States is doing militarily nowadays. It


was only after the Saudis, the Arab League came at the Americans and


said plos get involved, and then the French and then the Brits, and


only then did the Americans say yes, but only with all of these


conditions. That is much more of the military engagment you will see.


Keep in mind Obama still has to leave Afghanistan. He won't be


giving the kind of speech in 2014 on Afghanistan, if he's around,


that you saw him giving on Iraq today. Here in Europe, Libya is


seen as primarily seen as a European-led military mission,


which involved very, very troops on the ground. How do you see the


United States trying to prosecute its military and political mission


abroad in future? Well I think if you look at the way the United


States has engaged problems of terrorist threats in Yemen, in the


Horn of Africa, and in other places, what the Obama administration's


strategy is focusing on is fewer troops on the ground. Lots of


intelligence information provieed by people living in the countries,


lots of surveillance information provided by the United States over


flying those countries, and precision strikes. That is good at


killing terrorists, it is not good at changing the way the people who


live in this country feel about their vulnerability to us attacking


them. It is good for one piece of the country but not good for all.


What came away from the film I just heard was the sense that Iran is


being emboldened by the fact that the United States has pulled out,


Hussein isn't there. Iran's political position isn't an


advantageous one, Syria, Bashar al- Assad is literally on his last legs


and surrounded regionally and internationally, that will cause


problems for Iran and Lebanon as well. The GCC, Saudi Arabia, having


a much pronk stronger role on the gulf operation council, co-


ordinating countries which have tilted more closely to Iran. Iran


has problems internally between the Supreme Leader and the President.


There is no question that Iranians want a bigger influence in Iraq. I


see the problem with Iraq is major defragmentisingation and


decentralisation, with the Kurds and the Sunnis wanting their more


autonomous region, and the Shia, that is more of a problem. I don't


see Iran becoming a mass of political threat because of Iraq.


Isn't it a lot more difficult for the ufpl states to intervene abroad,


given the state -- the United States to intervene abroad, given


the state of the feeling about the United States in the rest of the


world? Yeah, I do think it would be more difficult for the President to


encourage public support for major interventions overseas. I think


part of the reason that President Obama was so hesitant to go to


Congress for authorisation for the use of force in the Libya campaign,


for example s that he didn't want to risk public reaction to it. So I


do think there is a hesitancy on the part of the American people. I


would say that is ameanable to leadership. And when it matters for


the United States to use force to protect and advance its interests,


it is the President's job to build public support for that. The other


thing it is ameanable to, is events. Who would have predicted, I know


9/11 was predicted, but George Bush did not set out to have a major


interventionist policy overseas during his presidency, 9/11 changed


all of that, didn't it? That is certainly true. The 9/11 era is


over. We saw that also with Bin Laden. I think that one of the big


ships we have seen has been -- shifts we have seen, is the United


States now focusing on Asia, not on the Middle East. That is a place


given the concerns on China on both sides of the electoral divide. You


will see the United States being more actively involved, several


administrations has been you cut your teeth on the Middle East live


or die. This administration has decided that is not where they are


going to be. They will get a lot of international support among Asian


allies for that. Thank you very much indeed.


That is all from Newsnight tonight. A storm brewing, but the calm


before the storm brewing. It could be an icey start but many of us


having a reasonable day with some sunshine inbetween the showers.


Quite a mixture through the afternoon for example, there will


be band of showers pushing out through parts of the Midlands, some


of those showers will be wintry, mostly falling as rain to lower


levels, on either side sunshine hanging on. Showers hanging on in


the London area. Breezy but the winds not excessively strong, wet


and windy across the far South-West of England as we end the day, a


sign of things to come. That rain pushing up into the far South-West


of Wales. Most of Wales having a reasonable interlude, some sunshine


through the afternoon. For Northern Ireland too, I think after a


showery period things will tend to dry out for a time in the afternoon.


Scotland looks like having a cold, cold day, lingering fog patches,


and the services could well have been -- surfaces quite slippery.


Wet and windy overnight across the southern half of the UK, that is


snow across Wales and the Midlands. That is one to watch. The worst of


the conditions gradually clearing away on Friday, left behind a cold


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Jeremy Paxman.

Who's telling the truth in the latest tabloid phone hacking row?

And why Labour should be doing better in the polls.

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