20/07/2012 Newsnight


As refugees pour out of Syria, what's going on inside? Why did the Batman killer do it? And is milk really too pricey? With Gavin Esler.

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Tonight, thousands of refugees are now flooding out of Syria, after a


week of intense fighting. Government forces are battling to


retake key areas of the capital Damascus. We're on the border.


Here at Syria's main border crossing with Lebanon, there has


been a tide of Syrians, fleeing the violence that has now reached the


very heart of the capital, Damascus. We will hear from an activist, and


ask if the Government is helping the rebels.


The dark night of America, many killed in a lone gunman attack. Can


we ever understand the monstrous. We will ask a leading psychiatrist.


The Chancellor and the rest of us finding out the price of milk, as


farmers protest they are being ripped off by the big supermarkets.


These laid ease are queuing up to supply the breakfast tables, but is


it the farmers who are being milked try. Dry.


Thousands more refugees are streaming across the border between


Syria and neighbouring countries, it follows the bomb blast on


Wednesday, in which leaders of the regime's security apparatus were


targeted. Reports of heavy fighting in the capital, Damascus. The


United Nations, has, at last, reached some kind of agreement on


renewing its mission in the country for a month. While the rebel Free


Syrian Army claims the regime is now in its last days. We start in


Lebanon and report from the Syrian border.


On every border, at every crossing, Syrians are fleeing their country,


escaping the growing violence and uncertainty. At this main crossing


into Lebanon, everyone is carefully checked. Many of the vehicles are


family cars, full of children, full of their fears. The border guards


here tell us 18,000 crossed over in the past 48 hours. Some of the


Syrians are wealthy enough to stay in hotels, some are lucky enough to


have family members in Lebanon. But others don't know where they will


stay, or for how long. That's a risk for the Lebanese, who


have their own very delicate sectarian and ethnic balance to


worry about. All of Syria's neighbours worry


tensions will also cross borders, but Lebanon is especially risky, it


has already lived through its own civil war. Lebanon's politicians


and people take different sides in Syria's deepening conflict.


It's now a war that's reach the very heart of Damascus. Today,


after six days of the heaviest clashes in 16 months, Syrian forces


fought their way back into central neighbourhoods like Midan, saying


it was cleansed of terrorists. The rebels say it was only a tactical


retreat, in what they call the final battle for Damascus.


But the fight is far from over. Battles are still raging in many


parts of the capital. Syrian state TV showed pictures of


young men, they described as part of the called "Free Army", sprawled


across a road in another Damascus neighbourhood. Today the regime


buried three members of President Assad's inner circle, they were


killed on Wednesday, on stunning attack on a highly-guarded security


meeting. It was also a devastating blow to President Assad's authority,


in an aura of instability. Even his main ally, Russia, suggested the


President would be willing to step down, so long as it was in order.


TRANSLATION: There was a meeting in June, a final communique was for


the transition, the final communique was accepted by Bashar


Al-Assad, he appointed his representative to conduct the


negotiations with the opposition on that transition. In other words, he


agrees to go, but in a civilised manner.


State TV quickly denied the President was going anywhere, any


time soon. But rumours keep squirreling about


whether he's -- swirling about whether he's still in Damascus. If


there ever was a peace plan, it now seems irrelevant. In New York the


UN renewed the mandate of its monitoring mission for another


month. But it is too dangerous to do much monitoring now, and the


main players in this crisis are stuck in a war of words over what


to do next. Diplomacy has been lagging behind developments on the


ground. But it's not too late for diplomacy to catch up if the


Russians come on board, and they do what they did with Milosevic, which


is come and tell him the game is up, and get him out of there. Which


needs a lot of international support, possibly military


assistance also, to keep, to maintain order, and a co-ordinated


effort with the regional powers. This is a war with winners and


losers, in Syria and all of its neighbours.


The biggest losers are the Syrians now fleeing their country, and


those still trapped inside. Not knowing when and how this war


will end. Shortly before we came on air I spoke with Lis on the border.


Loot of people here have been talking about this week as if it


were a turning point s is that how it is being seen where you are?


These words "turning point" and "tipping point" often get used in


protracted conflicts like this. But for anyone who has followed the 16-


month uprising against Assad's rule, there is no question that this past


week has been absolutely a turning point. We have seen the clashes


that have been taking place in towns and villages across the


country, finally reaching the heart, the very heart of Damascus, and the


very heart of President Assad's inner circle. Every time I have


been to Damascus, it was largely a bubble, unaffected by the tensions


and the violence. But it has been growing steadily more unstable. And


now, the people, for example, the people we have been talking to here


today, who have been fleeing that violence, tell us that they simply


were too scared to stay on. I spoke to children who said they heard


loud explosions by night and day, of the helicopter gunship that is


the Government is again using for the first time against rebel forces


who are in central neighbourhoods of Damascus. They hear the


explosions and the shooting. One woman said she felt like a prisoner


in her own home, they didn't know who to trust. Whether the Free


Syrian Army or the Government. diplomacy does indeed grind on, but


is it your instinct that this is going to be settled by the gun?


world has been watching in horror, as Syria is engulfed by more and


more violence, more deadly violence, grotesque torture, horrific scenes


over the past 16 months. It has always been said there is only one


peace plan, the peace plan of Kofi Annan. That he is the envoy, and


no-one dared to say that the peace plan wasn't working, because the


reality is there is no other plan. If that fails, what is it? It's a


war. And quite frankly, that is what it is now. It is a war. It is


not just a war on the ground, it has turned into an increasing war


of words between all the main players in this crisis, who haven't


been able to agree on what they can do to resolve it.


I'm joined now in the studio by the Turkish ambassador to the UK, and


from Beirut by Dr Hassan Turkomani from the Syrian opposition group,


Building the Syrian State. How worried is turkey that we are not


just seeing this imploding but exploding, and all the neighbouring


countries, including your own, will suffer? All the signs indicate


there is a growing humanitarian situation in the country, and it is


now affecting the bordering countries, particularly Lebanon and


turkey. In the last two weeks, I think we had more than 15,000


refugees, and the number of refugees in Turkey is now over 43


though though we have eight camps and they are not sufficient enough,


so now we are building new camps to accommodate the newcomers, we are


very much concerned that this refugee situation will become in


the mass, that is, of course, very frightening. In what ways are you


helping the free Syrian army, they are being co-ordinated out of


Turkey, are you helping the weapons get through to them? We simply


support the democratic rights of the Syrian people, and we want to


find the solution to the problem in Syria, through peaceful means. That


is the reason why we have been supporting the opposition groups,


who have not chosen the violence. But the guns are getting in from


somewhere, aren't they, and Turkey is the obvious candidate? Not from


the Turkish borders, I can categorically reject the idea it is


going through the Turkish border. You have always said you want a


peaceful solution to this, have you now come to recognise this is, in


effect, a fight to the death for the regime? Yes wrecks want a


peaceful solution. The track we want to reach a solution should be


peaceful. I don't see violence as a solution, to start W it is not


going -- yes, we want a peaceful solution, the track we want to


reach a solution should be peaceful. We don't want the violence to make


everyone lose control of the situation, I don't think Turkey or


the regime or the international community will be able to play any


role if we descend to complete chaos. Isn't that, frankly, what's


happening, there is a lot of guns getting in, and people within the


Free Syrian Army are saying it is a fight for the future of Syria, and


it will be a fight, no matter what the diplomats say? I disagree with


them. They don't have the right to let us all be involved in this


fight. While I do understand the people's right to defend themselves,


however, using the army to overthrow the regime, and settle


the problems with the regime is not the right way. We want all parties


to stop fighting and a real ceasefire from everyone, and then,


hopefully, kick starting a political solution. But for that to


happen we need international consensus. We need Turkey to stop


sending arms through the borders. It is not true what the ambassador


is saying about Turkey supporting the democratic choice of the Syrian


people. They interfered politically when they decided to make my choice


for my representatives as a Syrian and say this is who represents me.


They interfered politically through the opposition. They allowed lots


of arms to go through the borders, whilst on the borders I spoke to


many Syrian officials and defecting soldiers and generals, they told me


how Turkey is helping in this. It is very disappointing, we want


Turkey's support, but for the people, and democratic choice, and


democracy doesn't come through arms. Let me put that to you, the guns


are getting through Turkey, perhaps it is understandable, and it is


understandable you don't want to say so, that is where they are


coming from? I can simply say it is the position of the Government that


we are not supporting the violent groups in Syria, who are trying to


find the democratic solution to the problem. But, we have been


supporting the opposition groups and we have been supporting the


rights of the Syrian people, the democratic rights of the people,


but only through peaceful means. We have been, that is true that we


have been helping several opposition groups to get together


in Turkey. To co-ordinate themselves. But not for the arms.


Are you very irritated by the way Russia has acted in this?


wouldn't say I'm irritated, but the international community needs to


show solidarity. And unfortunately the United Nations Security Council


has a big responsibility to take a decision about the the solutions of


the problems. It seems that some members of the United Nations


Security Council do not feel as the others do. That's the reason why we


are not reaching a decision there. You're sitting in Lebanon, your


thoughts are obviously with the people of Syria, but people in


Lebanon too are obviously very worried. We know about the kind of


fractious nature of that state. Are you worried that might spread to


where you are now? People are very worried here, indeed, some people


are still operating, on the day of the explosions there were still


operations in Tripoli. Many people are worried in Beirut. I met people


from Damascus, and they are extremely worried. I met people


from the opposition who walked through the heart of Damascus today


and yesterday, and said the only thing you can feel is absolute fear,


where is this going? They don't know where the authority is, who is


issuing the orders. If it descends into the chaos, it will spread


across to Lebanon and Turkey and Iraq, the fear is regional. The


heart of the fear is in Damascus, they are living in fear. We all


failed Syria. The international community, the Syrian opposition,


and indeed, first of all, the regime. I think we should all go


back to rally around one solution. I don't understand what happened


after Geneva's meeting. They all seemed to have agreed on something,


and suddenly we see some of them going to the Security Council, and


others talking about army the opposition again. That is not what


Syria needs right now. We need to rally around one solution and push


forward to it. We don't want it to become the subject of international


conflict, while both the regime and other parties are reinforcing their


position, while the rest of the world is fighting over Syria.


Thank you very much, we are running out of time.


There is something both utterly shocking and yet sadly familiar


about the events late last night in Aurora, Colorado. A young man,


presumably deeply troubled, arms himself and slaughters people to


find one day of infamiliary. There will be the puzzlement about gun


laws, but Anders Breivik proved America has no monopoly on the


crime. The puzzle is, as usual, whether anything could have stopped


Just after midnight last night, local time, 20 minutes after the


start of one of the most anticipated movies of the summer,


24-year-old James Holmes entered a cinema in Aurora, Colorado, from


the back door. As the audience watched Batman, he set off two


smoke bombs. Then he opened fire with an Assault Rifle, a shotgun


and two pistols, killing a dozen people, wounding more than 70.


suspect was dressed all in black. He was wearing a ballistic helmet,


a tactical balance list kal vest, a ballistic level, and a gas mask and


black tactical gloves. Holmes was arrested just outside the theatre,


he had dropped out of a PhD in neuroscience at the local


university. Aurora won't comment on his motive, but the New York police


Holmes apartment was subsequently found to be heavily booby trapped,


the injuries of some of the wounded are said to be critical. The death


toll of the latest American mass shooting could well rise. I'm


joined now by a leading forensic psychiatrist, and Dave Cullen, who


wrote the book, Columbine, about the High School killings there.


When these things happen, is there a common pattern in the kind of


people who do it? Yes, there certainly is. Invariably, the


people who do mass murder have got very strong anger, usually rage,


and most often that is distorted through the lens of paranoia. They


are blaming other people for the problems that are typically of


their own making. A second trait they share is a willingness to die,


and by the end of the day, 50% do die. What do you make of this


thought that Mr Holmes was acting as if he were the Joker, the enemy


of Batman in the movies, does that make any sense to you? It does. It


seems to me an identification with the anti-hero, and, of course, this


way of going about a mass murder, which I name, pseudo commando, in


1985, was created originally by the Texas tower shooter, Charles


Whitman, they take multiple weapons with them, they are prepared, as if


it is a tactical assault. We see that in all of his behaviour.


Cullen, when you heard the news, did you think, oh, it's just


another Columbine, it is the same kind of person, it is the same kind


of thing? No, not really. Because there are several different types,


and, like Park said, there are a lot of similarities, but there are


also different one. At Columbine we had two different types, Eric


Harris was a clinical psychopath, and Klibel was depressed. At


Virginia Tech we had Joe, deeply, mentally ill, probably out-of-touch


with reality, and then we have terrorists, and those seem to be


the major ties. The people of different types behave very


differently, and with driven drives. I'm always curious what's driving


this person, and we don't have a whole lot of clues yet. I mean, we


have possibilities, but the only thing it looks like we can say for


sure is he planned, and planned it in advance, but that is almost


always true, and he was ruthless about it. In the way he went about


it. But people from each of those different types can be ruthless. I


think it is still early to know. Dietz, I was struck listening to


President Obama today, talking about evil senseless violence, and


Mitt Romney spiking about a sense of helplessness. Is there --


speaking about a sense of helplessness, is there no policy


response from the politicians that would work in these situations, or


do we have to throw our hands up in the face of this kind of evil?


There will not be an effective policy response, because the things


that would be effective are outside the reach of Government. They have


to do with who will reproduce, how parenting will be done, who will


have access to weapons, who news coverage there will be of copycat


crimes of this sort? I disagree some what with what Dave said. I


believe all the examples he gave, except terrorists, were depressed,


paranoid people, or at least angry people. And we found that Klebold


and Harris, were both, when we did psychological autopsies on the


Columbine killers, there is a lot of similarity between the pseudo


commando mass murders, we have to recognise there are depressed,


paranoid, armed people, watching this and every broadcast about


these crimes, a few of whom will say, they can beat the body count.


I wonder what your thoughts r we can't not cover a major news event,


but some people, as Dr Dietz says, will be some how encouraged to beat


it? Yes, there are, I agree with most of what he said, of the early


part. That's one of those things, I think we need to be careful about


how we, in the media, portray these people, and not to sensationalise


it, not to make them appear heroic. But, I don't think there is any


putting that lid in the world we live in now and keeping it from


people, that this is happening. I think that information will be out


there, and the best that we can do is treat it responsibly. You know,


most of these people, as Dr Dietz said, most of them don't live


through it. Most of these, even the people who are after glory, they


tend to aid very ingloriously, often pathetically. Columbine was,


in their own minds, what they intended was a complete disaster,


not what they intended happened. They were trying to blow up the


school. People die in miserable ends, in most of these cases. If we


could communicate the truth of that, we are not going to stop all the


copycaters, but at least we will diminish the possibility they will


see it as an opportunity. One final thought, I know there will be a lot


of viewers in Europe who will say this is mostly an American disease


to do with gun control, what are your thoughts on, that when


obviously in Norway we had a pretty horrific crime last year? There


have been a number round the globe, and we have too plane. If we are


going to answer it sensibly, we have to compare -- too many. If we


are going to answer it sensibly we have to compare the US and nor way.


Both have widespread firearm ownership, the US is less orderly


and has more of a wild west mentality.


Thank you very much for your expertise and knowledge.


A few weeks ago a backbench Conservative MP, Nadine Dorries,


chastised the Prime Minister, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as


two posh boys who don't know the price of milk. Today the Chancellor,


George Osborne, did a bit of remedial work, by visiting a farm,


to hear firsthand about the difficulties many farmers are


having, as they claim the big supermarkets and major milk process


sores, are cutting prices to unsustain -- processors are cutting


prices to unsustainable levels. We have been to find out what it is


all about. Dairy farmers like Peter, cannot


simply take a day off. The cows must be milked, if not they get


sick, and that means vet's bills or worse. The sad economic truth is


every litre that comes from these cows loses the couple money. Why do


they carry on? Having invested so much in the herd and equipment,


they are just desperate for something to turn up.


If I could go back, I wouldn't have come into dairy, when my father-in-


law was young, they had a good life, they were still struggling, but not


dealing with what they are dealing with now. Everyone out there wants


a cut. Everyone makes money out of the dairy farmers, except the dairy


farmer. We just can't take it any more. What is wrong with this


industry depends entirely who you speak to, for the farmers it is a


simple matter, the supermarkets and the processors have all the kards,


they dictate the terms -- cards, they dictate the terms and say what


price they are going to pay, and they won't pay a penny more. For


others it is oversupply, too many farmers, too efficient and


producing too much milk. It is argued some of them will have to


move on and do something else. Farmers have taken to direct action,


with blockades all over the country. Many see Wim Duisenberg dairy as


one of the biggest criminal, they have been taking over by Muller in


January, and has cut the prices, and another 1.7p cut is due next


month. The reason farmers are finding things so difficult at the


moment, is the two price cuts that have happened through the spring


and summer, which were 2p each, adding up to 4p, that has come at


the same time as their costs of production have gone up. So, fuel


and fertiliser costs have gone up. And they have also had a period of


very bad weather, which has meant, in many dairy farming areas, the


farmers have had to bring their cows back inside into the sheds and


are feeding them full winter rations, their costs of production


have gone up. Those two factors together mean that from a place


where the average dairy farmer was probably at about break even, this


April they are now losing between 5p-6p a litre of milk that they


produce. The price that farmers get for milk,


per ly theer, is pretty much back at what it was in the mid-1990s,


the industry has responded by getting much more efficient. This


is what the average dairy cow was producing back in 200 0.


You can't take a holiday, you are here every day, seven days a week.


And yet, you are not making money on that? We haven't made any money


in the last 14 years. Do you see a prospect of a change?


None whatsoever. If the Government doesn't deal with it this time, and


the Government says their hands are tied. The Government needs to sit


in and give us an adjudicator. Saying these are reasonable terms


and these are not? And to say to the processors you can't do this to


farmer, make it fair, they can't drop the price when they feel like


it. Name and shame all the retailers doing it. So the pressure


is on everyone, for the supermarkets to show they are


paying a fair price. Today, the Co- Op, have announced they will


increase what they pay. Earlier in the week, Asda was tell MPs, they


too, will increase what they pay. I'm delighted with the press


release from Asda, that milk is going up 2-3p to the farmer. How


did we get here in the first place. 2010 you slashed your prices in


Asda from �1.53 for four pints of milk to a �16789 all very well for


Asda to run milk as a loss leader who will pay for it? The farmer.


have a duty and obligation at both endss of the chain, we have a duty


and obligation to the farmer, and the customer, particularly at a


time when they are finding it difficult to make ends meet.


the ends aren't meeting on this hold anything sury. There may be


some gold mine dairy arms in Britain, this clearly isn't one of


them. -- dairy farms in Britain, this clearly ain't one of them.


you are hiding any Rolls-Royces you are doing it very well? I'm waiting


for my car to pack up, the bull had a go it. We're in Glasgow with the


review show in a minute. Tonight on the review show we have


a proper knees up out east, with the new exhibition of David


Bailey's photographs of his old stomping ground, the highlights of


the Olympic Park, and the sporting extravaganza, and new films in the


likes of Mike Leigh and Ramsay ra.. Join me and my guests in a -- Lynne


Ramsay, join me and my guests in a moment.


That's all from Newsnight tonight, we couldn't leave you without mark


ago very good for the anglo-Saxons in France, Mark Cavendish won


today's stage of Tour de France, and barring some kind of disaster,


Bradley Wiggins is more or less assured, of winning the whole event


on Sunday. He will be the first- ever winner.


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