18/01/2012 Newsnight


18/01/2012

Plans for a new airport on a peninsula in the Thames Estuary will be included in a formal consultation on UK aviation. Is so-called 'Boris Island' actually going to happen?


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Transcript


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Gootd good evening, British planes helped secure the skies above Libya

:00:10.:00:15.

in the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi. Were British forces deployed on the

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ground as well. The air war we know about, but tonight we piece

:00:21.:00:25.

together the cland desTyne missions of some of the country's most

:00:25.:00:28.

secret soldiers. Our investigation reveals Britain

:00:28.:00:32.

did have boots on the ground in Libya, with details of who they

:00:32.:00:35.

were and what role they were meant to play.

:00:35.:00:41.

The Conservative MP, Rory Stewart, and a writer are here to discuss.

:00:41.:00:45.

This man tells us how British Secret Service agents came to call

:00:45.:00:50.

on him while he was being held in one of Colonel Gaddafi's prisons.

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Why, please explain to our tax- payers, should we pay a single

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penny to clear up the mess left by Silvio Berlusconi?

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Our economics editor ask the Italian President the question on

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the nation's lips. And does the well being of a bunch

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of birds justify beginning the Mayor of London's pet project, of a

:01:11.:01:15.

new airport. This is where Boris wants to put

:01:15.:01:18.

his island. But is this really about building a new hub airport

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for the south-east of England, or building up the mayor's chances of

:01:23.:01:33.
:01:33.:01:34.

being re-elected? The British involvement in the

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campaign to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi was a very public one, or

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rather part of it. The use of RAF aircraft was very public. The

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fighting on the ground was said to have been done by Libyans. But

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Newsnight has learned that British soldiers were on the ground in

:01:50.:01:59.

Libya, alongside the anti-Gaddafi forces. Our defence editor reports.

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Britain's secret war in Libya evolved in fits and starts. But its

:02:04.:02:07.

architects believe it helped finally to tip the balance in

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favour of the Libyan revolutionaries, enabling them to

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seize the country and capture Gaddafi.

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Colonel Gaddafi said he would hunt you down like rats, but you showed

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the courage of loins wae, slut your courage.

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-- And we salute your courage. success, we learned, did involve

:02:36.:02:40.

deploying the SAS on the ground to help. But the tale of how they got

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there wasn't simple. The Libyan revolution started in

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February last year. Very quickly the Libyan Armed Forces split, and

:02:51.:02:56.

the leading rebels set themselves up in Benghazi.

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The British Government soon decided to send a rescue mission to the

:03:00.:03:07.

desert of southern Libya. It involved RAF Hercules aircraft, and

:03:07.:03:12.

a dozen marines of the sea squadron Special Boat Service. Ministry of

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Defence showed the mission, but not the commandos there to secure it.

:03:16.:03:21.

On the 27th of February, they founted three flights to take 150 -

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- mounted three flights to take 150 foreign oil workers, 20 British,

:03:27.:03:32.

from southern Libya to Malta. we got on to the plane there was

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two locals attacked the plane with large knives and machetes to try to

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rip the tyres. The special forces challenged them told them to stop,

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and fortunately somebody tackled them, brought the guys down and

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took them back. In the footage of the taxiing

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Hercules in halt at that, a clue appeared to the next phase of the

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operation. A special forces Chinook helicopter awaiting its mission.

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For in the chaos engulfing Libya, the Government decided to back the

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National Transitional Council, or NTC, and work for the overthrow of

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Gaddafi. There speaker, it is clear this is an illegitimate regime,

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that has lost the consent of its people. Our message to Colonel

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Gaddafi is simple, go now. The next phase of the operation involved a

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highly sensitive unit of British special forces, made up jointly of

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the SAS, and SBS, it is called E Squadron, and operates closely with

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MI6. Early in March six members of E Squadron boarded a Chinook

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helicopter, with two MI6 officers and flew to a place near Benghazi.

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They were going to meet rebel leaders. Why do it that way when

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there was a British friget in a harbour nearby. Apparently MI6

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wanted to avoid going near any British symbol of power. But the

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mission turned into a fiasco reported worldwide. A British

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diplomatic team detained by rebels in Libya has been released. Despite

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carrying everything needed for a covert mission, from civilian

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clothes to a variety of passports, the British had been nabd by armed

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local farmers. E Squadron had become unstuck almost immediately

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the British ambassador was left to plead with the NTC to release them.

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I hope to ask Mr Jalil if he might be able to intervene to help us

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clear up this misunderstanding, if there is anything we can do to help

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explain who they are and what they were doing. After this public

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embarrassment, British special forces were closed out of the

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picture for months, we have been told. But the visible commitment of

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planes and ships was growing. A couple of weeks later, France, the

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US and Britain started bombing Gaddafi's forces. And the stakes

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were raised again for the Cameron Government.

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It was time to send a properly accredited team to Benghazi to

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liaise with the NTC. By April, half-a-dozen army officers in plain

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clothes and intelligence people, were actively working in Benghazi

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to build capacity. An embryo defence ministry and a command

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structure. They operated in Benghazi, Misrata and near breing

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ga. But they were unarmed, and -- Breg a, but they were unarmed, and

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their main aim was getting Libyan units working to some sort of plan,

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and save them from being hit by accident by NATO.

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That happened a couple of times and we filmed these NTC units marking

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their vehicles with identification symbols, as a response.

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The poor record of these men led British liaison officers in

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Benghazi to argue for people able to raise their performance.

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The UN resolution that authorised NATO bombing specifically pro-hib

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bitted ground troops anywhere in -- prohibited ground troops anywhere

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in Libya. What about ground troops and special forces. We have learned

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that the National Security Council, shortly after the bombing started,

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tasked military chiefs to look at the feasiblilty of a train and

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equiff mission to the Libyan rebels. Publicly, meanwhile, ministers

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shyed away from talk of boots on the ground. This is not British

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ground combat forces going in. That's what the people mean by

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boots on the ground. We are very clear about the United Nations

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resolutions. They forbid any foreign occupation of any part of

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Libya, we will absolutely stick to that. The road to sending British

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special forces back into Libya lay via Qatar. The emrate had taken a

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strong stance against Gaddafi from the outset. Visits from British and

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French military chiefs, led to a joint mission being established.

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Special forces from all three countries would be sent to Libya,

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to assist with training as well as co-ordinating their command, and

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NATO air strikes. The French would go to the west, the British to the

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east. By August 20 men from D- squadron were rating in small teams

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in places like Breg a and Misrata, as well as training base in

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southern Libya. The air strikes had gone on for months, many had

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predicted doing it from the skies alone might not work. It has become

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a much more difficult fight, much more difficult targets. As I have

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observed in recent days, essentially it is very much

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stalemate-like in the vicinity of Brega. Within days of the new teams

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moving into action, the NTC was fighting its way into Tripoli,

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assistance from Qatar and France seems to have been particularly

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important here. But the Misrata units being helped by the British,

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were soon forcing their way into Gaddafi's home town of Sirte. At

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this point the British would not give weapons, but it did help the

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Libyans with radios and other equipment to co-ordinate air

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strikes. France and Qatar did send weapons, including, we have been

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told, Milan anti-tank missiles like these. As the revolutionaries

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fought into Sirte, NATO air strikes were pivitol, they were co-

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ordinated by the British, including men on the ground. Were they

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involved in the final drama as Muammar Gaddafi was taken and then

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killed by the NTC? That's a subject that everyone

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remains tight-lipped about. Though they do say that within weeks of

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Gaddafi's death, the special forces' presence was being wound

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down. The architects of the joint UK-French-Qatar operation insist it

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graves coherence, organisation and drive to the revolutionary ground

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forces. Integrating the Qataris and Jordanians in the operation was

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also vital. Without them and their defence chiefs' leadership,

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especially the huge understanding they brought to the campaign, it is

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unlikely that the NTC's militias could have successfully acted as

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the land element, without which the right outcome would have been

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possible. The role of special fores and MI6 in this process is still

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not publicly -- forces and MI6 in the process is still not public

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knowledge. It extended the British involvement in the Libyan struggle,

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to a greater degree than Government statements had suggested. In a

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moment two people who spent some time in the Newsnight studio during

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the Libyan war and in Libya during and after, the Conservative MP,

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Rory Stewart and the writer and journalist, Nabila Ramdani. First,

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Mark Urban is here, this is significantly different from what

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we were told? William Hague was talking in the conflict about the

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UK's desire to stay within the terms of res Luis. This is

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something that exercise -- resolution. This is something that

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exercised Whitehall for months. Lawyers from various departments

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were sceptical it could be done. Eventually it was done. Finally the

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troops that went in, the two dozen from the SAS from August on wards

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were armed. Where as the earlier missions the mentoring, consultants,

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went in plain clothes, unarmed. significant a contribution was it?

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Well, it is easy to argue this both ways. A lot of people would say

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that even after the fall of Tripoli, and even Sirte, that those gangs of

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men in their pick-up trucks and heavy machine guns and the rest of

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it, were a wild, unco-ordinated and indisciplined lot. However, they

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had achieved their objective, it was important, I think, for the

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countries that backed them, that, if you like, they wanted to bank

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some of the political influence that came from helping them achieve

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their objective, the qar tar defence force chief claimed --

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quart tar defence force chief claims hundreds of Qataris were

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involved. The French want it known that they armed. The British hoped

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by being involved in that way they would buy influence in that new

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Libya. Do you think they want it made public? I can't say that is

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what the Government wants. Rory Stewart and Nabila Ramdani, to what

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extent do you think the revolution is tainted by this sort of

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discovery? It is absolutely tainted by this sort of discovery. I think

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Mark's report is fascinating, but sadly, not in the least bit

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surprising. What the discussion should be all about is not so much

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military intervention, but illegal military intervention. The use of

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British special forces in Libya shows that the British completely

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ignored the United Nations resolution 1973. In many ways. Not

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just by sending special forces on the ground. But the resolution was

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breached by sending arms to the rebels, by training them, by

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equipping them with communications, and crucially, the breach of 1973

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also resulted in Libyans dying on a daily basis.

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Rory Stewart, do you think there was a breach of the UN resolution

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in this? I don't believe it is a breach of the resolution. The

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resolution is about occupation forces on the ground, not small

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covert operations. It says no force of occupation? I disagree. What

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1973 absolutely does not authorise is elite foreign troops from a

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western democracy, interfering in the internal affairs of an

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sovereign Arab country. Let's not forget that. Remember that

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thousands of people died in Libya in spite of western intervention.

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So the Libyan conflict was all about ousting an Arab regime which

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had fallen out with the west, just a few years after dealing with the

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west over everything from oil. don't think he was a tyrant?

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course he was a tyrant. Fine. it is not up to elite troops from a

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western democracy to oust him. you were in favour of the air

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campaign? I was in favour of military intervention, when it was

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abundantly clear Gaddafi was threatening a bloodbath in Benghazi.

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What I was disagreeing with was the form and shape of the military

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intervention. I'm all for legal intervention, when it is fair and

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transparent, but illegal intervention is something that is

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morally wrong. I think the other thing, to put it in proportion,

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this is a very small intervention, you are talking about 20 people.

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doesn't matter how small, we were misled about it. Public claims were

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made that there were not British soldiers there, and there were?

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Foreign Secretary is very clear, he said when boots on the ground are

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talked about,'s talking about large forces. Britain has intelligence

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agencies, we have special forces, we did, as we know, in Afghanistan,

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and on a small scale in Lybia, and in a very cautious way. Unarmed

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initially, very few people, no arming of the rebels. That is

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perfectly within the resolution. arming of the rebels. The British

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didn't. That was left to the French and Qataris. They were part of the

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NATO coalition, they are responsible. We are not responsible

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for France. For breaches of a fundamental UN revolution. We are

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not responsible for France or Qatar. You are, I think UN resolutions are

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designed for a specific purpose, to intervene when there is a specific

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threat in real time. That was the case in Benghazi. What it doesn't

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authorise is to settle scores with an Arab tyrant which had fallen out

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with the west. What is all this talk about settling scores? Let me

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be clear, Britain was, one day Britain was serving Gaddafi's

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enemies on a plate for torture, and the case of Belhadj. We will talk

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about that in a moment or two, we will be talking to him. But

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settling of scores, you said? saying one day Britain was serving

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Gaddafi's enemies on a plate to him for torture, and the next day it is

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using its finest elite troops to support them and lead them to

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victory. Do you agree it did at least change

:16:47.:16:54.

the nature of the conflict. Clearly, once embarked upon, it was

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unconceivable that Britain, France and those who supported them would

:16:57.:17:01.

allow it to have anything other than the outcome they sought?

:17:01.:17:06.

it is very important to see the context there. Bribe should be

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congratulated for showing restraint, not arming the rebels, not going

:17:10.:17:13.

beyond of the terms of the resolution, it is hard to do. It

:17:13.:17:17.

was successful because we didn't get carried away. One of the ways I

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question Mark's report, there is suggestions that the military felt

:17:19.:17:25.

their hands were tied too much. In this case it is correct to tie the

:17:25.:17:30.

military's hands. Vietnam started with a few advisers, and ended up

:17:30.:17:35.

with 500 though troops -- 500,000 troops, it was right we restrained

:17:35.:17:41.

it. Any support would have been fine provided it wasn't too overt

:17:41.:17:45.

or expensive? It is fine if it is within the terms of the resolution,

:17:45.:17:49.

not committing atrocities, and in the end we have the Libyan support,

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we got the balance right. Doesn't transparency matter? Enormously,

:17:56.:17:59.

but I also think a nation should have a Secret Service, special

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fores and isn't obliged to reveal on television everything it is

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doing all the time. I don't think Britain would benefit from doing

:18:07.:18:10.

that. Let me ask you this, do you think the outcome in the end

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justified the means? Not at all. It is far too simplistic. You would

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rather Gaddafi were there? Not at all, it was very important to

:18:19.:18:23.

intervene militarily, to stop the fear of a bloodbath in Benghazi.

:18:23.:18:27.

Once it was achieved, it was morally wrong to take sides in a

:18:27.:18:31.

civil war, to lead a faction of the Libyan population to victory.

:18:31.:18:36.

take up that point you raised a moment or two ago. The inquiry,

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supposed to discover whether people working for the British Government,

:18:40.:18:44.

might have colluded in torture might have been abandoned, or the

:18:44.:18:47.

judge supposed to be carrying it out put it, it is not practical for

:18:47.:18:51.

the inquiry to continue right now. The lawyers and civil liberties

:18:51.:18:54.

activists representing the alleged victims are delighted, they said

:18:55.:18:58.

the inquiry was inadequate from the start. The police investigations,

:18:58.:19:02.

meanwhile, are continuing, into two cases, including that of Abdel

:19:02.:19:07.

Hakim Belhadj. The Libyan commander who took Tripoli, but who spent six

:19:07.:19:11.

years in Colonel Gaddafi's prisons, after, he claims, the British

:19:11.:19:15.

helped capture him. Earlier I spoke to him in Tripoli and started by

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asking him what he would like the British Government to do now.

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TRANSLATION: First of all, we wanted the British Government to

:19:26.:19:32.

apologise for what it did against us. And for the injustice against

:19:32.:19:38.

us, and the mistakes made against us. Especially from the British

:19:38.:19:46.

Intelligence Services. To apologise for the hidious crimes committed

:19:46.:19:52.

against us. And now the case is taking its course, and we would

:19:52.:19:59.

like those behind this crime to be brought to justice and put on trial.

:19:59.:20:03.

Can you be certain that the British people you saw when you were in

:20:03.:20:10.

prison, knew you were being tortured? TRANSLATION: The document

:20:10.:20:15.

found at the Intelligence Service headquarters clearly points to the

:20:15.:20:23.

implications of the British Intelligence Services. Those were

:20:23.:20:27.

unjust people, they didn't respect human rights. What has been

:20:27.:20:32.

revealed, and the documents clearly indicate the impli cakess of those

:20:32.:20:41.

people. It exposes their actions, the crimes against myself and my

:20:41.:20:47.

family. When you were being held in Libya under Colonel Gaddafi, did

:20:47.:20:57.
:20:57.:20:57.

any British people come to see you? TRANSLATION: It was a year-and-a-

:20:57.:21:01.

half before I saw someone. people who came to see you, men or

:21:01.:21:06.

women, what age were they? TRANSLATION: As far as I can

:21:06.:21:16.
:21:16.:21:16.

remember the team was led by a lady. She was accompanied by a man in his

:21:16.:21:20.

50s. The two members from the British Intelligence Services came

:21:20.:21:29.

to see me. Did you tell them you were being tortured? The room was

:21:29.:21:36.

monitored, they eves dropped on our conversation. However, I gave them

:21:36.:21:39.

the message that I was being tortured. They understood the

:21:39.:21:49.

message. I clearly understood the message I was trying to give to

:21:49.:21:55.

them. I was mistreated, I was psychalogically tortured. They gave

:21:55.:22:05.

me signs that they goat the message. Were you physically tortured?

:22:05.:22:12.

I was held was not fit for a human being. It was a sell, I was

:22:12.:22:17.

deprived of daylight for a year- and-a-half. I couldn't see the sun.

:22:17.:22:22.

I couldn't bathe. I couldn't have a shower. That carried on for over

:22:22.:22:28.

two years, for two whole years. My wife was ill-streeted as well.

:22:28.:22:32.

She's still suffering -- ill- treated as well, she's still

:22:32.:22:37.

suffering psychological problems. Unfortunately the Libyan and

:22:37.:22:40.

British Intelligence Services contributed towards this. Have the

:22:40.:22:44.

British police been to talk to you in Libya since your country was

:22:44.:22:53.

liberated? TRANSLATION: No, I have not met any British, any British

:22:53.:22:56.

police personnel. Would you be willing to come to the UK to give

:22:56.:23:01.

evidence? This matter is in the hands of my legal team, we are

:23:01.:23:07.

discussing it, with regard to the location. I'm leaving this in the

:23:07.:23:11.

hands of my legal team. After what happened to you, how do you feel

:23:11.:23:18.

about Britain? First of all, regarding the British people, I hab

:23:18.:23:23.

bour no ill feeling towards these people -- harbour no ill feeling

:23:23.:23:27.

towards these people. Because relations between the people last.

:23:27.:23:33.

I harbour ill feeling towards those implicated in my ill treatment, in

:23:33.:23:38.

my suffering, in my operation. Those who contributed towards this

:23:38.:23:43.

act, years of suffering and the treatment of my wife that was

:23:43.:23:49.

pregnant at the time. Those people who harmed me also harmed their

:23:49.:23:52.

people. I hope that relations between our two countries will

:23:52.:23:57.

improve, will be consolidated and will be based on mutual interest

:23:57.:24:03.

and mutual trust. I harbour no hatred and all I hope for is that

:24:03.:24:13.
:24:13.:24:16.

justice will take its course and the law will prevail. Mark Rory

:24:16.:24:20.

Stewart and Nabila Ramdani are still with us. These are murky

:24:20.:24:24.

waters? They are, the case underlines the danger to Britain to

:24:24.:24:29.

its reputation international, to its Secret Services, all of rest of

:24:29.:24:39.
:24:39.:24:39.

it. Of these extraordinary changes, these advertise of - the forces

:24:39.:24:44.

were -- after 9/11 they became enemies, according to his

:24:44.:24:49.

allegations the UK helped Gaddafi get his hands on Mr Belhadj. Now we

:24:49.:24:54.

find the situation...Even According to documents unearthed in Libya.

:24:54.:25:00.

The British said as much? They aimed to cliem claim credit for

:25:00.:25:03.

doing so. Now we have another situation, that is a danger with

:25:03.:25:07.

backing the NTC, in way we have. If there is a further change in

:25:07.:25:11.

direction, or the country descends into lawlessness, once again, the

:25:11.:25:16.

UK could be held responsible for that. How embarrassing do you think

:25:16.:25:24.

the revelations are? Hugely, it brings into sharp focus the extra

:25:24.:25:28.

ordinary hypocritical and ambiguous Britain had with libia. Meanwhile

:25:28.:25:33.

the intervention in Libya was wrapped in positive PR, we were

:25:33.:25:38.

sold the military intervention as if they were offering humanitarian

:25:38.:25:43.

reasons, and for the promotion of human rights. That is very cynical.

:25:43.:25:46.

You wouldn't dissent from the fact it is highly embarrassing, would

:25:46.:25:51.

you? If these allegations are true it is worse than that. It is

:25:51.:25:55.

disgraceful. It illustrate that is our whole policy was short-term,

:25:55.:26:03.

chaotic, ethically questionable, over a period of nearly 20 years.

:26:03.:26:08.

Earlier you were saying it is right every nation has Secret Service and

:26:08.:26:11.

special forces and everything not disclosed on television, this is

:26:11.:26:16.

what happens? If you have a Secret Service, you have to watch them

:26:16.:26:19.

very carefully, and special forces, it is not a license to do whatever

:26:19.:26:23.

you want. The ethical rules need to be clear. Why are you shake your

:26:23.:26:30.

head? I want to pick up on an important point by Mark, if a

:26:30.:26:36.

western approved democracy doesn't take off in Libya, by which I mean

:26:37.:26:43.

giant corporations ex exploiting oil and gas to vast profits, I'm

:26:43.:26:46.

sure covert operations will continue in Libya, and western

:26:46.:26:50.

Governments will select another Government. They seem happy with

:26:50.:26:53.

the National Transitional Council, as we saw with Gaddafi

:26:53.:26:56.

relationships can change very quickly indeed. You are shaking

:26:56.:27:00.

your head? I disagree with it. We are not involved in some grand oil

:27:00.:27:04.

and gas conspiracy. The problem with British policy over the years

:27:04.:27:09.

it has been short-term, and crossing ethical lines. It is not a

:27:09.:27:12.

grand global conspiracy. We have heard the Trade Secretary saying to

:27:12.:27:16.

British businessmen specifically, pack your suitcases, we have heard

:27:16.:27:23.

the same from the French Foreign Minister. The NTC made it

:27:23.:27:27.

abundantly clear it was willing to reward the western Governments

:27:27.:27:30.

involved in the conflict. The oil and gas argument is perfectly

:27:30.:27:36.

viable. Supposing things don't work out

:27:36.:27:40.

with the NTC for whatever reason, then it would be absolutely right

:27:40.:27:43.

would, it not, according to your analysis, that this country pursues

:27:43.:27:48.

its own vital interests? I think we have vital interests. We have also

:27:48.:27:53.

to respect international law and not go around torturing people.

:27:53.:27:57.

That is a sensible conclusion. Thank you very much.

:27:57.:28:00.

British tax-payers will not be spending large amounts of money

:28:00.:28:03.

keeping the euro afloat, we know this because the Government has

:28:03.:28:08.

told us so. Yet today it emerged that the

:28:08.:28:13.

International Monetary Fund is scrabling around to find another

:28:13.:28:16.

$600 billion or so. Britain will be asked for a health kwhree whack of

:28:16.:28:22.

it. This will not be -- healthy whack of it, this will not be for

:28:22.:28:28.

anything as pretentious as propping up the euro. Paul Mason asked the

:28:28.:28:32.

Italian Prime Minister. The Italians seem amused to have in

:28:32.:28:37.

charge of your country, who is seen everywhere else, as a buffoon,

:28:37.:28:41.

explain to our tax-payers why we should pay a single penny to clear

:28:41.:28:44.

up the mess, left by Silvio Berlusconi. To my knowledge, my

:28:44.:28:54.

country has not cost a penny to the UK so far. Nor visa versa as I'm

:28:54.:29:01.

aware of. At least in the present historical phase. I believe both

:29:01.:29:07.

Italy and the UK are huge beneficiaries from the single

:29:07.:29:12.

market and European integration. You make some personal observations

:29:12.:29:21.

that I respect. That was about a recent Italian Prime Minister. I,

:29:21.:29:27.

however, fail to see the connection between your characterisation of

:29:27.:29:32.

his personality, and the international burden for the UK

:29:32.:29:39.

tax-payers. Paul Mason is here. How much are we on the hook for? Today,

:29:39.:29:42.

the IMF has come to the international community and said we

:29:42.:29:47.

want to more than double our lending power to a trillion dollars.

:29:47.:29:51.

That means it needs another $600 billion. That is huge. And most of

:29:51.:29:57.

it, or a lot of it, will be earmarked to save Mr De Montfort's

:29:57.:30:04.

country, Italy and also -- Mr Mario Monti's country, Italy and also

:30:04.:30:13.

Spain. We will be on the hook for $ 150 billion We're being warned

:30:13.:30:17.

there is negative growth figures for the lest of this year. Last

:30:17.:30:22.

time they tried to get an IMF increase through parliament was bad

:30:22.:30:25.

news, they had a rebellion. It would be quite difficult for them

:30:25.:30:29.

to do it this time. The Americans are saying they are not

:30:29.:30:33.

participating and giving anything to the IMF, as a result of today's

:30:33.:30:34.

call. The Greeks say they are on the

:30:34.:30:38.

verge of writing off their debt? Rembering the middle of last year

:30:38.:30:43.

and standing amid all the teargas. One was being phoned up by people

:30:43.:30:47.

in the European Union saying if Greece writes off its debt, partial

:30:47.:30:52.

default, it will be a Lehman-style moment. Six to nine months, we have

:30:52.:30:56.

got to a position where there is enough resilience to try it out N

:30:56.:31:01.

the 48 hours we will see a -- in the next 48 hours we will see a

:31:01.:31:05.

deal. If we get to Friday and it has happened, and the French

:31:05.:31:11.

banking system hasn't gone up in smoke, and a huge credit event

:31:11.:31:14.

triggering all kinds of activities in the insurance markets, that will

:31:14.:31:18.

be a good thing. It has been the thing that we have been fearing for

:31:18.:31:22.

the best part of six months, we are on the eve of it. That is another

:31:22.:31:28.

part of it. The step towards resolution for the eurocrisis.

:31:28.:31:33.

won't be good news if you have Greek debt? It is going to be

:31:33.:31:38.

halved, that is what they are haggling about. The market is

:31:38.:31:42.

acause tomorrowing itself to that happen. Most Greek debt is held by

:31:42.:31:48.

Greeks and Greek banks. The hope and fear in Greece is it won't

:31:48.:31:54.

solve anything. It might solve the ticking timebomb we were told about

:31:54.:31:58.

last year. Someone is taking Boris Johnson seriously, according to

:31:58.:32:02.

London, he's seriously interested in the scheme he has been

:32:02.:32:07.

supporting, for a massive new airport in Kent. He hopes to say

:32:07.:32:13.

like Christopher Wren of St Paul's, "if you want my memorial, look

:32:13.:32:16.

about you". This being Britain nothing will happen imminently.

:32:16.:32:22.

There is a better than even chance, if it will happen at all.

:32:22.:32:26.

1234 He started slow and small with the Boris bike, not a bit bigger

:32:26.:32:31.

and quicker with the Boris bus. But now the Mayor of London wants to go

:32:31.:32:38.

global and at jet speed. A new airport in the Thames Estuary. It

:32:38.:32:42.

is not here yet, but this is propossessioned site of Boris

:32:42.:32:47.

Island. That is the -- proposed site of Boris Island. That is the

:32:47.:32:51.

Medway there, the proposed island in Kent. First things first, don't

:32:51.:32:56.

call it an island. Don't take my word for it, here is the mayor's

:32:56.:33:01.

description of his shining vision. I'm more of a peninsula. This is

:33:01.:33:04.

what it could look like, 150 million passengers a year.

:33:04.:33:10.

According to the aviation industry, we do need to think big, if we want

:33:10.:33:14.

to attract flyers from new emerging markets, like China and Brazil?

:33:14.:33:19.

Heathrow is at 99%, Gatwick is a similar figure. If you look at

:33:19.:33:22.

Amsterdam or Frankfurt or Paris, they have four runways, Amsterdam

:33:22.:33:28.

has six. Those airports with four runways, run at 5% capacity. That

:33:28.:33:33.

means when there is -- 75% capacity, that means when there is disruption

:33:33.:33:39.

the whole system doesn't collapse. There is catch-up. You can't have

:33:39.:33:42.

a% runway utilise laigs, that is why the hub is constrained.

:33:42.:33:49.

There is a few problems with the Thames Estuary, there is the wreck

:33:49.:33:54.

of the HSS Richard Montgomery, it sanction with tonnes of explosives

:33:54.:33:59.

on board. That would have to be moved, as, presumably will all the

:33:59.:34:08.

boards. According to the RS PCB, this is a wetland of rare birds.

:34:08.:34:11.

200,000 birds coming here to winter. Would you really want to be sitting

:34:11.:34:15.

on an aircraft, taking off at the end of the runway, where we are

:34:15.:34:18.

standing now, through thousands and thousands of birds, it is not safe.

:34:18.:34:21.

It is not in line with the Government saying it wants to be

:34:21.:34:26.

the greenest Government ever. development needs, it has always

:34:26.:34:29.

been a balance between development and conservation needs. Sometimes

:34:29.:34:34.

you have to pay a price. Why not here? Where do you draw the line.

:34:34.:34:38.

We have lost 50% of the wetlands in the wild in the last century. This

:34:38.:34:44.

is one of the last best pieces of wetland habitat in the country.

:34:44.:34:50.

some the most significant fact in this is 2012 is an election year in

:34:50.:34:53.

London. Boris Johnson wants to be elected mayor again. He knows the

:34:53.:34:58.

people out here, who would be affected by a new hub airport,

:34:58.:35:03.

don't vote in the elections. Over there there are millions of people

:35:03.:35:07.

in west London, affected by the noise of Heathrow, and worried

:35:07.:35:12.

about its expansion. Well they do vote. The trouble with Heathrow is

:35:12.:35:17.

it is a great airport, but you can't indefinitely keep expanding,

:35:17.:35:21.

it is in the wrong place. 25% of all people in Europe who suffer

:35:21.:35:28.

from aviation noise pollution, live around Heathrow. So if you are

:35:28.:35:32.

going to expand your capacity, and business is making that case very

:35:32.:35:34.

powerfully to Government. George Osborne is off in China, he

:35:34.:35:39.

understands very clearly the need to communicate with the big growth

:35:39.:35:42.

economies of Asia and Latin America. If you are going to do that, then

:35:42.:35:51.

you have to look elsewhere. Last month's Feltham and Heston by-

:35:51.:35:54.

election, right on Heathrow's doorstep, through up interesting

:35:54.:36:04.
:36:04.:36:09.

results, which Boris can't fail to Conservative strategists think a

:36:10.:36:14.

policy of shifting the airport could be decisive.

:36:14.:36:20.

When do you expect it all to be under way? This does look a little

:36:20.:36:24.

bit more like electioneering, when you talk to the Lib Dems. Any

:36:24.:36:27.

announcement this side of the election would need their approval.

:36:27.:36:33.

This is Norman Baker, a Lib Dem and transport minister. See if you

:36:33.:36:37.

think Boris is going to win him over? We do not support the

:36:37.:36:42.

building of a new airport and will do our best to stop it. There may

:36:42.:36:45.

be powerful arguments in favour of a new airport, it is true the

:36:45.:36:48.

Government is about to hold a consultation on the UK's airport

:36:48.:36:53.

capacity, looking at all of the options. However, the flurry of

:36:53.:37:01.

interest today in Boris Island. More of a peninsula. Sorry, Boris

:37:02.:37:05.

Peninsula", seems to have more to do with the London election

:37:05.:37:11.

timetable than anything else. We are joined by the Lib Dem L Ron

:37:11.:37:19.

Hubbard, and Jon Moulton, a venture capitalist. Are we really deciding

:37:20.:37:23.

on an airport because Boris wants to be re-elected? Yes. That is not

:37:23.:37:28.

a good thing? No. There is an unequivocal case to be made for it,

:37:28.:37:31.

leaving aside to whether Boris Johnson is up for election? It is a

:37:31.:37:37.

pretty tough case to run easily. Other than a rather special

:37:37.:37:40.

circumstances that Boris is in. It is hard to see this being

:37:40.:37:45.

politically wise. There is an awful lot of opposition and very little

:37:45.:37:50.

for this idea. You are in favour of it? I'm not. I think there are

:37:50.:37:55.

better alternatives. The third runway at Heathrow is not good, but

:37:55.:38:03.

it is better. Linking up Gatwick and Heathrow has lots of problems.

:38:03.:38:06.

That is better than the idea. the Government says it won't do the

:38:07.:38:10.

third runway at Heathrow, what could they do? They could change

:38:10.:38:14.

their minds t has been done before. As long as you are part of the

:38:14.:38:18.

coalition l this happen? I don't think it will happen. -- Coalition,

:38:18.:38:22.

will this happen? I don't think it will happen. This is very much a

:38:22.:38:26.

Boris election gimmick. I have been talking to lots of Conservatives

:38:26.:38:31.

today, who think the idea is as daft as the rest of us. It is about

:38:31.:38:35.

Boris but the need for more airport capacity? If it was about, that you

:38:35.:38:39.

would see the department for transport being involved in this,

:38:39.:38:43.

having done some work. You are against it full stop, against the

:38:43.:38:47.

idea of any further airport capacity? I'm against expansion in

:38:47.:38:51.

the south-east of Britain, I don't think it makes a lot of sense, from

:38:51.:38:59.

an environmental perfective. basics are we are maxed out at

:38:59.:39:03.

Heathrow, unless we deprive the locals of sleep, which is pushing

:39:03.:39:10.

it a bit far. We are losing our strength as an international hub I

:39:10.:39:17.

think there is three destinations for Heathrow in China, there are 15

:39:17.:39:21.

in France. We are losing our share of flights because we don't have

:39:21.:39:26.

any xas fee at Heathrow. We need a -- capacity at Heathrow. We need a

:39:26.:39:30.

greater capacity at the hub airport. The only way to do it, extend

:39:30.:39:35.

Heathrow, quicker, painful for people in the airia. Link up

:39:35.:39:39.

Gatwick and Heathrow, that has spare capacity. That costs money,

:39:39.:39:45.

nothing like the amount of money that is needed to build the estuary

:39:45.:39:50.

airport. You think we need greater capacity? It would be good for the

:39:50.:39:53.

economy, and probably outweigh the significant downsides that come

:39:53.:39:59.

with it. Whiels you are in Government, however -- whiels you

:39:59.:40:04.

are in Government, however long it lasts, there will be no expansion

:40:04.:40:12.

of capacity? We will be clear, The coalition agreement is clear,

:40:12.:40:18.

welling not move away from that. John has an accurate decribing all

:40:18.:40:23.

the problems with possible solutions. In my view they outweigh

:40:23.:40:26.

the benefits. We have to reach climate change targets, that means

:40:26.:40:30.

not investing in damaging projects like these. The problem with you is,

:40:30.:40:35.

we can't believe a thing you say. This was in your manifesto, no

:40:35.:40:38.

third runway, and similar commitments, as was a commitment

:40:38.:40:42.

not to increase student fees? have been very clear that we will

:40:42.:40:49.

stick with it. This is one you will abide by? Speaking as someone who

:40:49.:40:53.

voted against fees. Bully for you, has Nick Clegg given you an

:40:53.:40:57.

assurance that he means what he says? The Department of Transport

:40:57.:41:01.

doesn't seem to be backing it. If you look at what they are saying.

:41:01.:41:04.

What do you care about what the department of transport thinks,

:41:04.:41:08.

isn't it matter of principle for you? In this case it seems the

:41:08.:41:13.

department for transport isn't supporting it, the local MPs aren't

:41:13.:41:16.

supporting it. John said there are very few people supporting it, we

:41:16.:41:20.

will stick to that. How worried are you about

:41:20.:41:24.

politicians not investing in infrastructure in this country?

:41:24.:41:30.

Quite serious. The cost of this airport, lowest amount in the press

:41:30.:41:36.

is �30 billion. Moraleity is probably nearer �80. The Government

:41:36.:41:40.

is planning to spend �8 billion on all the traffic infrastructure,

:41:41.:41:44.

that is the amount in the last budget. We need to spend more,

:41:44.:41:48.

improving our infrastructure is one thing that works for the future. We

:41:48.:41:54.

have to choose the right things, we have to do things that we can done

:41:54.:41:59.

fairly quickly Boris says this one six years, it is the same

:41:59.:42:05.

likelihood of me getting an her receiptry peerage. It is a 20-year

:42:05.:42:09.

project if it is a day. Is there something about the way we run

:42:09.:42:16.

these things, the way politicians look after their interest, that is

:42:16.:42:19.

integral to infrastructure planning? This is a 20-yor project

:42:19.:42:28.

and we have five year elections. If you are -- 20-year elections. --

:42:28.:42:34.

this is a 20-year project and we have five-year elections. Many of

:42:34.:42:37.

the other things they are suggesting is sensible, increasing

:42:37.:42:42.

the investment. Extra rail to link up ports properly, that would be

:42:42.:42:46.

good. That would be faster and cheaper than this. I think it would

:42:46.:42:49.

provide more benefit. The problem is the same, you guys are living

:42:49.:42:53.

from election to election, and these things take years and years

:42:53.:42:57.

to put in place? Indeed, that is something we have to resolve. The

:42:57.:43:01.

interaction of the media with politicians shortens the time scale

:43:01.:43:06.

with 24-hour cycles. The fact you guys haven't the guts to make a

:43:06.:43:10.

decision is some how the media's fault? We are increasing, for

:43:10.:43:16.

example, on rail investment, the Autumn Statement announced �1.4

:43:16.:43:19.

million in rail investment. That is more than the Victorian era.

:43:19.:43:22.

Politicians are beginning to take those decisions, we will continue

:43:22.:43:26.

to do so. I hope we will be able to have more.

:43:26.:43:31.

Has Nick Clegg given you an assurance? That there will be no

:43:31.:43:35.

expansion of airports in the south- east? That is the clear manifesto

:43:35.:43:38.

commitment, there is nothing to suggest anything else. There is

:43:38.:43:41.

further work. An air strategy coming out. I don't believe that

:43:41.:43:47.

will be an outcome in the south- east. Boris's antics today, with

:43:47.:43:52.

his flights of fancy, have made it harder for his case. There is a lot

:43:52.:43:58.

of issues about whatever we do. One of the problems building any of

:43:58.:44:00.

these enhanced capacity in the south-east, is it will further

:44:00.:44:06.

increase the regional divide. Lots of issues here, this idea is just

:44:06.:44:13.

being flouted for electoral purposes nothing else.

:44:13.:44:23.
:44:23.:44:56.

Cynicism in one so young! The That's more than enough for now. I

:44:56.:45:01.

will be back tomorrow with among other things a discussion on

:45:01.:45:11.
:45:11.:45:32.

whether maxim has anything to offer the world. Good night.

:45:32.:45:36.

Good evening, mild but cloudy across southern areas with

:45:36.:45:39.

outbreaks of rain. Further wet weather in the morning. Some

:45:40.:45:44.

sunshine for a time, a scattering of hours, becoming more frequent

:45:44.:45:50.

during the second half of the day. Wintry in the top, to the Fells,

:45:50.:45:54.

the Pennines, gusty winds attached, but dry and bright weather. For the

:45:55.:45:57.

Midlands, East Anglia and southern England. After the clouty and wet

:45:57.:46:02.

standard we have here, by the afternoon most will be dry. Sunny

:46:02.:46:05.

spells. The winds coming from west or north-westerly direction. It

:46:05.:46:09.

will be gradually bringing in colder air t won't feel as mild as

:46:09.:46:13.

it did in the morning. A few showers flowing into north and west

:46:13.:46:17.

Wales. Continuing to see hours on and off during the day. Brightness

:46:17.:46:22.

between, a little bit wintry on the tops of the hills. More significant

:46:22.:46:26.

amounts of snow for Scotland, higher and central ground of

:46:26.:46:31.

Scotland. Good covering in places, still some gaps in the snow showers,

:46:31.:46:38.

continuing into Thursday night. As you look on Friday to the northern

:46:38.:46:48.
:46:48.:46:50.

Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman leads on the news that controversial plans for a new airport on a peninsula in the Thames Estuary will be included in a formal consultation on UK aviation. Is so-called 'Boris Island' actually going to happen? Why do we need more capacity? Newsnight asks if the news has more to do with this summer's mayoral elections than the future of UK's airports.

Also, Mark Urban has the untold story of how British efforts to help topple Gaddafi were not limited to air strikes. On the ground - and on the quiet - Special Forces soldiers were blending in with rebel fighters.

And on the day that Mario Monti paid a visit to Number 10, Paul Mason has the latest on the Eurozone.


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