30/07/2012 Newsnight


30/07/2012

Reporting on the intense fighting in Syria, and a look at torture and injustice in Belarus. Does Olympic home advantage matter? Plus, meet two authors of the opening ceremony.


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Transcript


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Tonight, a top Syrian diplomat in London defects, saying he can no

:00:12.:00:19.

longer bear to represent the regime. As the battle for the city of

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Aleppo intensifies, will this increasingly bloody civil war split

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the country. This is another blow to Assad, and his cronies in

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Damascus, it is good news, this is one in the eye for the regime. We

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want this regime to crumble and fold as fast as possible. What does

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the home advantage mean to GB, as they try to match their medal haul

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from Beijing. We have Team Newsnight on the case, and author

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of Luck and the head of UK sport. After an Olympic ceremony that

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broke broadcasting records, what were the messages intends and did

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we get them. We will talk to the designer of the called Ron, code

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named Betty. Europe's last dictatorship, as John

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Sweeney puts himself in the place of those tortured by the regime.

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The guards force the prisoners to strip naked, and stand in this

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position, spread eagled, in minus 20, there was snow outside. Good

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evening, Syria's most senior diplomat in the UK has mit his post

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in protest at the violent and oppressive actions of the regime

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headed by Bashar Al-Assad. He told the Home Office he was no longer

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prepared to continue. It comes as the Government forces

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try to retake the largest city, Aleppo, with the world paralyses,

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how can the increasingly brutal civil war end, could it be by

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spliting the country. The battle for Syria's largest city

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has raged all day. Sending hundreds of thousands fleeing. Through the

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noise of war, it is hard to know who's gaining the upper hand.

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But for the regime, victory is vital.

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In its report, state television claimed the army had purged one key

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district of Aleppo, from what it called terrorist gangs. He said

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they had taken complete control of the city, and will make the whole

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city secure within a few days. But the rebels, here race to go try

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to rescue a trapped unit, say that is nonsense. They say they are

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still advancing. Though they are certainly taking some casualties.

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While fighting continued in Aleppo, rebels claimed they had taken a key

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checkpoint, Anadan, to the north. Giving them free movement between

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the city and the Turkish border. And this unverified footage, they

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are apparently celebrating the capture of a Government tank,

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vowing to go all the way to the Presidential Palace.

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For now, on the streets of all lep po, they are still fighting mainly

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with -- Aleppo, they are still fighting mainly with the

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Kalashnikovs, still outgunned by the Government forces. Their

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strategy is to win gradually and wear them down. They don't have the

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fire power to win militarily, they have been wage ago war of attrition,

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trying to bleed the regime of its resources, trying to turn the tide

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of popular opinion against the regime. Military depexs and these

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kinds of things. It is very interesting, if you look at the

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combat raging now, not just in Aleppo city, and the suburbs, the

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rebels are shooting in all different directions, this is a

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sign for the regime to say you are encircled and surrounded, we are

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everywhere. The very fact they are now in Aleppo, the ancient trading

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city out of the fight for the last year, proves that strategy is

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working. At least part of Aleppo's prosperous Sunni business community,

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has finally backed the revolution, they are not the only people

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changing sides. In another example of the slow erosion of the regime,

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Syria's most senior diplomat in London, resigned today. He told the

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Foreign Office he was no longer willing to represent a regime that

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had committed such violent and oppressive acts against his own

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people. The news follows the resignation or defection of a

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number of Syrian diplomats this month. As well as a much larger

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number of generals and other military officers. Nearly all,

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:05:02.:05:04.

including the former charges defares, have been Sunni -- charges

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defairs have been Sunni Muslims. Some think he will retreat to the

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Alawite heartland on the Mediterranean, to try to set up an

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Alawite mini-state. That would hardly be viable. I agree it could

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never work, because those areas are heavily populated by Sunni Muslims,

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one area that is 50% Sunni population. What gives it some

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plausibilty, if you look at where the massacres have taken place,

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these campaigns can only be described as campaigns of "ethnic

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cleansing", designed to terrorise the Sunni population. More

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important than, that although that is pretty bad in itself, designed

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to make the Alawite communities, around these areas, feel complicit,

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and feel as though their fortune, their life and death struggle, is

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inextricablely tied to the political fortune of the Assad

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regime. When I met refugees from Aleppo on the Turkish border a few

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days a they told us the mainly Alawite shabiha militia were

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burning bodies in the city, sometimes burning people alive, to

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spread sectarian divide. They are working hard on a sectarian war,

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they didn't succeed, we have so many different communities, Alawite,

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Sunni and Christians joining the rebels, they didn't succeed. Others

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aren't so sure, but long-term sectarian war is a fear for the

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future. For now, for those still trying to survive, amid the gunfire

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in Aleppo, where bread is running short, as well as water and power

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supplies, the present is frightening enough. Joining us now

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the former British ambassador to Syria. You know the country very

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well, we know Aleppo is the largest population, but stragically, how

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significant would this victory be for either side? It is the largest

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city in Syria, two million people. We can't talk about victory, it is

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a long way off that. We have a number of fighters in the streets,

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extraordinary courage being shown. Your correspondent and cameramen

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were also incredibly courageous. There is a lot of courage and

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bullets being fired. But there is no question of the rebels taking

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control of Aleppo. They are way short of that. In terms of what is

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happening today we saw another defection from a high-profile

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diplomat here, if these start to add up, could it come from within,

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that fall? I think a diplomat here or there doesn't make a difference.

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The question is whether the regime would fall apart, as you say. There

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are two things to look at, one is the loyalty of the army, more

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importantly the effectiveness of the secret police. If you get a

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condition of chaos, in Aleppo or in Damascus, such that the secret

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police don't know where people are, can't come along the next day and

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arrest them, the fear, the overriding fear of the secret

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police will dissipate, and then the regime will be in a lot more

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trouble. If Assad went, would that be the end of the secret police.

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Assad is of no importance, he has never run Syria, he doesn't run it

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today. You really believe that. If he went tomorrow the problems would

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continue? If Assad himself went tomorrow it would make no

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difference. He would be replaced by one of his relatives, by some

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intelligence general, and the same regime would be determined to stay

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in power, this is the key to it, you see. Both sides are now

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determined to fight. Because, both sides think that they have some

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chance of winning, and more importantly, neither side can

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afford to lose. The consequences for them and their families would

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be terrible. You heard it described this vision, maybe, of an Alawite

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mini-state. Can you see a Syria now completely divided which a civil

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war? It is already divided by a civil war. We have a civil war, it

:09:12.:09:22.
:09:22.:09:23.

has a sectarian element, we have foreign support to either side.

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mini-state from within Syria? Alawites will have to fight to

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survive. For the moment there is no scope for diplomacy, because they

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are determined to fight. But then there is some kind of a military

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outcome, perhaps even a stalemate, then we have to think, how we can

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get some degree of stability into that situation, where you you have

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two million Alawite terrified of the other 20 million Syrians. It is

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not impossible, we are not a long way from it, that there will be

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some kind of enclave in the North West just as we have in Azerbaijan.

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An enclave supported by a foreign power, that could survive, and at

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least you would have some kind of a frontline, some end to the fighting.

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You were nodding when you heard the description of these massacres

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asset nick cleansing. If you take us back to -- as "ethnic cleansing",

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if you take us back to Bosnia, was there a moment when some kind of

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intervention was possible and we have missed it? Hard to say we have

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missed an opportunity. I think we have been mistaken in calling for

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the removal of Assad. That was the wrong thing to seek. What we should

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have been seeking was for the regime to move its policies and try

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:10:44.:10:45.

to head off this rebellion that they now face. End of day three, a

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bronze medal for Team GB in gymnastics, but disappointment in

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the diving. Our lot may not be wearing Stella McCartney, but crisp

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gently flamable sportswear, with the suggest from the BBC, it is

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time to welcome our team taking us through a daily digest of the

:11:11.:11:21.
:11:21.:11:32.

action. Here is Steve Smith's 60- It has been a day of shocks and

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surprises, not least in the Newsnight office, where our

:11:36.:11:40.

Olympics coverage has been planned down to the very first detail.

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David Cameron went to the games on the tube. Though his bycicle

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followed behind in the zil lane, no it didn't. After criticism over

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empty seats, organisers have released another 3,000 tickets to

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the public, and promise more to come. The Queen's granddaughter,

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Zara Philips, has put Britain's equestrians on course for a silver

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medal. But Britain's gymnasts had their medal downgraded to a bronze

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after an appeal by the Japanese. It was our first men's gymnastic's

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medal for 100 years. There was laughter, tears, or a gently

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suppressed sigh, as excitable Alan George Moldovanu snatched gold in

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the men's 10m air rifle, we will all remember where we were when

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that happened. We have all taken that young man to our hearts. There

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is a lot more tomorrow, canoe, hockey, gymnastic, I should stand

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up four our tracksuits, I spent a lot of time bidding at the Jimmy

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Saville auction for these. We will see the Rolls-Royce tomorrow night.

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What is a science editor's take on what we have seen so far with Team

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GB. I have been looking at performance, whether we can tell

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anything from the early list of medals. Most people measure

:13:05.:13:10.

performance by the number of golds, silver, bronze medals we achieve.

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We have one silver, two bronze, a long way behind America and Japan

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and China with 11. Can we tell anything about performance edge

:13:19.:13:29.
:13:29.:13:31.

from the early tally. There is huge expectation that Team

:13:31.:13:35.

GB will perform as well as they did at Beijing or better. How are they

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doing so far. It is a slightly less good start than the officials would

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have hoped for. Tom Carver, the road cyclist was -- Mark Cavendish

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was supposed to catalyse the team with a victory in the road race,

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but he didn't manage that. There is a long way to go and things can

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change fast a mildly disappointing start. At Beijing 14 of our 19 gold

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medals came from three events, sailing, cycling and rowing. Those

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events have yet to run their full course, so we should be in a much

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better position to judge how well Team GB is doing, by early next

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week. So is there anything we can learn

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from looking back at how nations perform. Scientists have found that

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there is an advantage to staging the Olympics, a host effect.

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This shows how Australia's share of medals increased ahead of the year

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2000 as focus and investment began. This is Great Britain's share ahead

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of London, it shows a similar pattern heading into our host year,

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year zero. We are similar to Australia in some ways. In the

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Olympics, the Sydney Olympics, they had a 5% share of the total medal

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count. We had exactly the same percentage share in Beijing. By the

:14:57.:15:01.

time of the Sydney Olympics the Australians had a bid over 6% medal

:15:01.:15:08.

share. If we have a -- a bit over 6% share. If we have that, it

:15:08.:15:12.

should be the same in total. Another intriguing factor could

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come into play, a possible tribunal effect on a host nation's -- tribal

:15:16.:15:25.

effect on a host nation's athletes. Sometimes as much as 60% higher

:15:25.:15:30.

testosterone with a home crowd. Evolutionists believe that a

:15:30.:15:34.

survival advantage was conferred on people when they had tribes

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invading one's territory, they fought back. UK sport, whose job it

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is to maximise performance, says it invests around �100 million a year,

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to deliver success for Britain's Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

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The official estimate is Team GB will clock up 48 medals. They have

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another goal too. The number of medals we win is the easiest target

:15:57.:16:00.

to look at, and the one people remember most of all, because we

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won 47 medals in Beijing, our best games in a modern era, that is the

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target people will focus on. But there are a number of measures we

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need to look at. The number of sports we won meddlias in. You want

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to continue to -- medals in. You want to continue to do well in

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those sports, but you want to expand your port folio, and win

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medals in sports we don't traditionally win medals in.

:16:28.:16:36.

How will it play out over the next couple of weeks? It has been said

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prediction is notoriously difficult, especially if it is about the

:16:40.:16:50.
:16:50.:16:50.

future. I'm joined by my guests now. Great of you all to join us. Thank

:16:50.:16:55.

you for coming in. Liz Nichol, you might say we haven't been as lucky

:16:55.:17:00.

as we might so far. Are you happy to say it is just the taking part

:17:00.:17:07.

that counts? No, absolutely not. From a UK Sport perspective, we are

:17:07.:17:11.

investing unapologetically in success. We realise, if in fact, if

:17:11.:17:18.

you deliver medals in an Olympic games, you will provide

:17:18.:17:21.

inspirational moments. What return do you want to get, what is the

:17:21.:17:26.

medal count you have in mind? than Beijing. 47 medals in Beijing,

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19 gold medal, in 11 sports. We want more medals than Beijing, at

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least 48 medals in at least 12 sports. That is the official target

:17:36.:17:40.

from the outcome of the games. we stand today, of course, it is

:17:40.:17:44.

early days, do you think we are on that target? It is early days, only

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day three, there is a lot more to come. In fact, we are doing just

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fine, three fantastic medals. The medal today from the bronze medal

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from the men's team gymnastics is outstanding, that is a moment in

:17:58.:18:04.

history. That was not predicted. The bronze from Rebecca, fantastic

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performance, she swam faster than Beijing and got a bronze. The rest

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of the world is moving on as well. Lizzie Armistad to get the silver

:18:15.:18:19.

in the road cycling. She was inspired by the support she had on

:18:19.:18:24.

the way. Does this medals' table work? It works in the way that it

:18:24.:18:27.

is an Olympic Games, and of course we are hosting it and want to do

:18:27.:18:31.

well, people will pay a great deal of attention to it, it is easy to

:18:31.:18:35.

measure and gauge. Does it reflect the health of the sporting body, as

:18:35.:18:40.

a whole, no, I don't think it does. If you take two different countries,

:18:40.:18:45.

Argentina, which game fourth in the medal table in Beijing, and China

:18:46.:18:50.

who came first. If you were a young sports person where would you like

:18:50.:18:54.

to be born in, Argentina, you have more sports played in the community.

:18:54.:18:58.

Football, cricket, motor racing, tennis, there are paths to enjoy

:18:58.:19:02.

sport, not so in China. It is natural to do well in the medal

:19:02.:19:07.

table, we shouldn't have this view that we can gauge the health of

:19:07.:19:12.

British sport by saying this many medals equals that good. Is there a

:19:12.:19:16.

part of us that would be liking to be as good as China at sport?

:19:16.:19:21.

want to be as good as we can be, in a way that reflects our own culture

:19:21.:19:24.

here. We are investing in suck he is. There is a parallel investment

:19:24.:19:29.

-- in success, there is a parallel investment into education. It not

:19:29.:19:37.

just about success and medals, it is that vital interest for

:19:37.:19:41.

youngsters in future sport. have a silver medallists here, you

:19:41.:19:44.

have been in the middle of this kind of argument and debate, do you

:19:45.:19:51.

think things have changed a lot? All athletes want to do their best,

:19:51.:19:56.

the biggest stage is the Olympics. Zoe Smith didn't get a medal in the

:19:56.:20:00.

weight lifting, but got a personal best. She will go away content,

:20:00.:20:04.

others not, it is about how you set your standards. For me it is about

:20:04.:20:08.

the medals, I think we will do better, I think we could get 55.

:20:08.:20:12.

Does the home advantage help? Massively. It won't physiologically

:20:12.:20:16.

make you fitter or stronger, but give you the stronger edge. If you

:20:16.:20:21.

go out there, you listen to the gymnastics boys, they said the

:20:21.:20:27.

crowd, Rebecca Adlington said she could hear the crowd. It raises

:20:27.:20:31.

your spirits and your consciousness, that they are here for you, if it

:20:31.:20:36.

gives you the extra couple of per cent psychologically, it could have

:20:36.:20:41.

a detremental effect on your opponents, the underdog. Some of

:20:41.:20:44.

them have come out wearing the headphones, does that seem to you

:20:44.:20:49.

to be an odd way of holding back the home spirit? Some people love

:20:49.:20:53.

to get the crowd, and thrive off the noise. Other people like their

:20:53.:20:58.

own world, listening to music. As athletes we have rituals, maybe

:20:58.:21:02.

that is their ritual listening to a type of music before competing.

:21:02.:21:05.

Everybody has different ways of performing at their be. Going back

:21:05.:21:11.

to the home crowd, I -- their best. Going back to the home crowd, I

:21:11.:21:15.

think that helps. You have been there and done it, but home

:21:15.:21:18.

advantage does work in some sports, we have seen graphics and data

:21:18.:21:23.

about. That there is a danger with expectation at times in sport. Take

:21:23.:21:28.

the example of Andy Murray in tennis, most people would agree the

:21:28.:21:32.

great British yearning of a British champion is not helping Andy Murray.

:21:33.:21:37.

It is a transferable principle. There are times when sportsmen,

:21:37.:21:42.

even though they will never admit it. We are a very proud bunch,

:21:42.:21:44.

sportsmen will never admit to weaknesses. If you got them in

:21:44.:21:48.

there, moment of truth, they would say the expectation was difficult

:21:48.:21:51.

to deal with. Although home advantage should play a part, there

:21:51.:21:54.

is a danger if things become too hyped, which can happen, we know.

:21:54.:22:01.

That I think athletes may not benefit from it. It is for an

:22:01.:22:06.

athlete to control T I have an example, the World Championships in

:22:06.:22:09.

Athens, I was so psyched up for that race, I was so keen, I

:22:09.:22:16.

tatically ran the worst race of my life, I was too hyped up, I ran the

:22:16.:22:20.

worst race of my life. It is for that athlete to control their

:22:20.:22:23.

nerves, I think. I think expectation is a good thing,

:22:23.:22:28.

pressure is a good thing to have. Have we reached a point of peak

:22:28.:22:32.

performance now, certain records like the long jump has not been

:22:32.:22:37.

bettered for 40 years now, is that as far as we can go? It is true

:22:38.:22:43.

that what Stephen Jay Gould called the outer wall of human endeavour,

:22:43.:22:47.

as we inch towards it, the incremental improvements are

:22:47.:22:51.

getting smaller. With greyhounds and horses they have reached that

:22:51.:22:54.

point. The Derby times have not improved for 50 years. There is a

:22:54.:22:59.

point when a human being will not be able to run any faster, the laws

:22:59.:23:04.

of oxygen exchange will go only so far. It is getting hard Tory make

:23:04.:23:09.

very, very big jumps forward -- harder to make very, very big jumps

:23:09.:23:15.

forward. And the testing for drugs is better. Or we have supersonic

:23:15.:23:20.

athletes, Jonathan Edwards, awesome athlete. You mentioned gymnastics,

:23:20.:23:24.

that is a sport where we seemed to have come from nowhere, now doing

:23:24.:23:31.

very well, both men and women, that is not about high-tech? This is

:23:31.:23:34.

about long-term athlete development, that the sport has actually been

:23:34.:23:41.

working at, from its club base, through to its national level, and

:23:41.:23:44.

international level. It is about great coaches, it is about athletes

:23:45.:23:48.

with great talent and commitment, massive commitment. Do you pinpoint,

:23:48.:23:52.

it is often said that we look at the sports where we think that we

:23:52.:23:55.

can improve, we are not going to improve necessarily on the running,

:23:55.:23:59.

we might on the sailing or rowing, high-tech sports, what happened

:23:59.:24:03.

with gymnastics, did somebody pinpoint that, was it down to a

:24:03.:24:12.

very good coach? Tough look at the Beth Tweddle, the inspiration she

:24:12.:24:15.

provided to youngsters coming up through the sport. She has a

:24:15.:24:18.

fantastic coach to help her achieve at the highest level. And the sport

:24:18.:24:22.

has invested in coach development, we have invested in coach education,

:24:22.:24:27.

we are trying to create more world class coaches to populate the high-

:24:27.:24:30.

performance system here. There is a lot of factors involved in success.

:24:30.:24:34.

But for gymnastics, this has been building over a long period of time.

:24:34.:24:38.

And there was one point when we saw thought, actually, it is unlikely

:24:38.:24:44.

we will be able to compete against the top Six Nations of the world.

:24:44.:24:48.

Tonight they proved they could do it. How do you compete with a

:24:48.:24:53.

Chinese woman who can outswim a man. That is what we are up against?

:24:53.:24:57.

will always have extraordinary talent, occasionally showing itself.

:24:57.:25:01.

Across the sports. We just have to actually, you can't compete with

:25:01.:25:08.

that, there will be, for example, on Sunday, Lizzie arm misstead, she

:25:08.:25:13.

won that -- Armisted, she won the silver medal, there was no chance

:25:13.:25:17.

of a gold medal, because there was an outstanding Dutch athlete, who

:25:17.:25:20.

has had great performances over the year. These moments in time will

:25:20.:25:22.

happen, when we have the best in the world.

:25:22.:25:27.

Thank you very much. In a moment we will be talking to

:25:27.:25:31.

the writer, the screenwriter of the opening ceremony, and the designer

:25:31.:25:38.

of the Olympic cauldron. One head of state, denied an

:25:38.:25:46.

invitation to the London Olympics, was Mr Shevesheka. He was accused

:25:46.:25:52.

of human rights, two years ago he was accused of crackdown on

:25:52.:25:57.

protestors. Last March two men were executed after a bombing on the

:25:57.:26:06.

underground killed 15 people. John Sweeney has travelled undercover to

:26:06.:26:10.

investigate allegations of torture and look at the guilt of the

:26:10.:26:20.
:26:20.:26:23.

executed men. In Belarus the eternal flame burns to commemorate

:26:23.:26:28.

Stalin's great victory over the Nazis, here they still goose step.

:26:28.:26:32.

I have come undercover to investigate claims that the regime

:26:32.:26:37.

tortures and murders its own people N April last year a bomb went off

:26:37.:26:41.

in the Minsk Metro, killing 15 people.

:26:41.:26:47.

Within 48 hours, President Alexander Lukashenka went on TV to

:26:47.:26:52.

say they got the bombers, and they would face the most extreme

:26:52.:27:02.
:27:02.:27:08.

punishment. Their arrest was shown on prime time TV.

:27:08.:27:17.

The names they were trying to get out of them? Dina Comalavo and

:27:17.:27:27.
:27:27.:27:27.

another. The following month, the secretary-

:27:27.:27:34.

general of Interpol, Ronald Cay Noble, an American, arrived in

:27:34.:27:38.

Minsk and braced the operation. can tell all the -- and praised the

:27:38.:27:43.

operation. I can tell all the citizens of Belarus that this case

:27:43.:27:47.

was involved by the high professionalism of the ministers

:27:47.:27:51.

and internal affairs and the police, and the high-technology you have in

:27:51.:27:56.

place, and the strong relations between internal affairs and

:27:56.:28:01.

Interpol and countries on a bilateral and multilateral basis.

:28:01.:28:05.

Four months later the trial started of the accomplice and the bomber.

:28:05.:28:11.

And the guilty men were found guilty. But some in Belarus were

:28:11.:28:21.
:28:21.:28:22.

not convinced by what they say was a 21st century show trial. The bomb

:28:22.:28:28.

had gone off at rush hour in October Station, the city's busiest

:28:28.:28:35.

stop. It was Belarus's 7/7. This is the tube stop where the bombing

:28:35.:28:45.
:28:45.:28:46.

happened, the question is, who did it? One woman is running a lonely

:28:46.:28:51.

campaign to prove the two bombers were innocent. We drive three hours

:28:51.:29:00.

towards the Russian border, her home is being watched by the bell

:29:00.:29:04.

Rusian KGB for months, she case the coast is clear, for now.

:29:04.:29:10.

She's the mother of Vlad, the alleged bomber's accomplice. I put

:29:10.:29:16.

it to her that the two men had faced a fair trial. TRANSLATION:

:29:16.:29:21.

The court has not a single piece of evidence of proof, not only my son,

:29:21.:29:25.

who was drugged into all of this, but also the other man, apart from

:29:25.:29:30.

his confession, which he gave under torture.

:29:30.:29:38.

For her it starts with Lukashenka. TRANSLATION: Lukashenka said the

:29:38.:29:43.

boys had been interrogated, and by 5.00 they had already confessed.

:29:43.:29:46.

They were interrogated without lawyers. Over that time they were

:29:46.:29:50.

just beaten. The boys had no choice, otherwise they would have been

:29:50.:30:00.
:30:00.:30:05.

beaten more and more and more, until they confessed. The two men

:30:05.:30:10.

were paraded on TV, confess to go their crimes from a psychiatric

:30:10.:30:19.

ward. TRANSLATION: He came back into the room with a plastic remote

:30:19.:30:23.

control in his hands, he pressed it a few times, and gave it to me to

:30:23.:30:33.
:30:33.:30:33.

hold. He said it was a detonator for the bomb. So why would anyone

:30:33.:30:43.
:30:43.:30:45.

confess to a bombing they had no part in? In these 2010 elections

:30:45.:30:50.

were held, and yet -- in December 2010 elections were hell, and yet

:30:50.:30:56.

again President Lukashenka claimed victory with four out of five votes.

:30:56.:31:02.

The opposition cried foul and hit the streets.

:31:02.:31:06.

A crackdown started, 700 arrested, including seven presidential

:31:06.:31:16.
:31:16.:31:19.

candidates. (gun shots) Opposition activists

:31:20.:31:24.

were picked up by the KGB that night. This man has fled the

:31:24.:31:28.

country, but he drew us a map of how to find what he claims is the

:31:28.:31:37.

regime's torture centre. Right side, and left side, after

:31:37.:31:47.
:31:47.:31:48.

two streets from the left side you will see it.

:31:48.:31:53.

Because I'm here undercover, we can't film openly. But I followed

:31:53.:31:57.

Vlad's directions, and go for a stroll, along the capital's Main

:31:57.:32:06.

Street. After one building you will see the next, after this place,

:32:06.:32:10.

where everybody from us was imprisoned after elections. This is

:32:10.:32:16.

the KGB head office, very grand. But behind the fancy columns lies

:32:16.:32:23.

the secret prison. You can't see it from the street, but you can from

:32:23.:32:29.

Google Earth. They call it the Americana, after a circular prison

:32:29.:32:34.

in America, that Stalin's secret police admired. Where would the

:32:34.:32:38.

alleged bombers have been held on the night of their arrest.

:32:38.:32:46.

TRANSLATION: In the Americanca, from their arrest until the excuses,

:32:46.:32:54.

they were held there by a KGB unit. What is it like being a guest of

:32:54.:33:04.
:33:04.:33:04.

the Americanca. It is a small place. It has 18 rooms. TRANSLATION:

:33:05.:33:08.

I first got there, somebody told me to look at the ceiling, you can see

:33:08.:33:12.

what looks like the lid of the coffin, in which you have been

:33:12.:33:20.

buried alive. Night and day, guards wearing masks would enter the cell

:33:20.:33:26.

and drag the prisoners out. TRANSLATION: You are talken

:33:26.:33:30.

downstairs to a cold room, where you are lined up -- taken

:33:30.:33:34.

downstairs to a cold room, where you are lined up, legs stretched

:33:34.:33:39.

apart. They make sure your head is lowered and your legs are spaced

:33:39.:33:43.

out, after that they undress you. All the others stand there as you

:33:43.:33:46.

are striped naked. Another inmate drew us a picture of the strip

:33:46.:33:53.

torture, he's still in Belarus. You are completely naked, and they

:33:53.:34:02.

put you like this. If they think that you are legs are not spread

:34:02.:34:09.

wide enough, they just give you legs, and they go even wider. Even

:34:09.:34:16.

several seconds in this position it is not very pleasant.

:34:16.:34:23.

Give me a flavour of the Americanca, and the BBC has decided I should

:34:23.:34:29.

take part in a little experiment. So we go to a cold store in North

:34:29.:34:35.

London, where the temperature is minus 24 Celsius. So the guards

:34:35.:34:43.

forced the prisoners to strip naked, and stand in this position, spread

:34:43.:34:49.

eagled, in minus 20, there was snow outside. In the jarg Bonn of

:34:50.:34:53.

torture, this is a stress position -- jargon of torture, this is a

:34:53.:34:58.

stress position. You might not think this is looking like torture,

:34:58.:35:04.

but add the cold, and guards kicking your legs apart, and

:35:04.:35:08.

electric cattle prods buzzing around your privates, and several

:35:08.:35:14.

hours a day, night and day. This is torture. That is enough.

:35:14.:35:24.
:35:24.:35:25.

I lasted 40 seconds. I lasted 40 seconds. For the prisoners, they

:35:25.:35:35.
:35:35.:35:39.

had to endure that for 40 minutes. So, is it possible that the KGB

:35:39.:35:45.

tortured confessions out of the two men. Other prisoner of the

:35:45.:35:48.

Americanca, said they heard screams from the cells where the two men

:35:48.:35:52.

were being held, and in the middle of the night an ambulance was

:35:52.:35:59.

called. One of the lawyers, here in the

:35:59.:36:03.

white shirt, started going through the CCTV evidence, praised by the

:36:03.:36:08.

man from Interpol, and soon began to pick holes in the official

:36:08.:36:18.
:36:18.:36:19.

version. The time, 17.39, the bomber enters the Metro, carrying a

:36:19.:36:29.
:36:29.:36:31.

black bag. Clock the white mark on the bag. Now you see the white

:36:31.:36:41.
:36:41.:36:43.

mark,. 17.44, now you don't. There is something immediately and

:36:43.:36:53.
:36:53.:36:55.

obviously wrong about the official version.

:36:55.:37:00.

17.45, the bomber is hanging around, another man walks past him, looks

:37:00.:37:06.

at him, and the bomber sets off after him. It is as if he's taking

:37:06.:37:16.
:37:16.:37:24.

directions. 17.46, the bomber is apparently led by another man,

:37:24.:37:32.

turning abruptly in front of him in the tunnel. 17.48, the bomber

:37:32.:37:37.

walking down to the platform, where the bomb goes off. Clock the bag,

:37:37.:37:47.
:37:47.:37:58.

All of these questions about the CCTV were blocked by the judge.

:37:58.:38:03.

One striking clash of evidence, the defence wanted to run, the bomber

:38:03.:38:10.

seems tall, while Dimer is short. The Russian Security Service, the

:38:10.:38:15.

FSB, compared the bomber on the CCTV with Dima for the court, and

:38:15.:38:24.

the FSB's conclusion? TRANSLATION: The FSB said the man filmed with

:38:24.:38:29.

the bag on the Metro, and Dima do not match. They are of different

:38:29.:38:39.
:38:39.:38:39.

heights and build. The man with the bag and Dima are different people.

:38:39.:38:44.

No forensic evidence at all linking either man with the bomb?

:38:44.:38:51.

TRANSLATION: No, there is no evidence. A spokesman for Interpol

:38:51.:38:55.

denied that the presumption of innocence was breached, and

:38:56.:38:59.

disputed our analysis of the evidence. The statement said Mr

:38:59.:39:03.

Noble concluded that the investigation was professionally

:39:03.:39:06.

conducted, and that the arrests solved the case of who was

:39:06.:39:10.

criminally responsible for the bombing. Advancing one sided false

:39:10.:39:14.

claims, it said, about murderous terrorist conduct, can only

:39:14.:39:21.

undermine public confidence in the media. The judge dismissed the

:39:21.:39:24.

defence case, and in March this year, they were shot with a bullet

:39:24.:39:34.

to the back of the head. If the solicitor is right, then Lukashenka

:39:34.:39:38.

put in the dock for this crime, two innocent men. The question remains,

:39:38.:39:42.

if they didn't bomb the Metro, who did? What of the men in the shadows

:39:42.:39:47.

on the CCTV? Who, in a police state, can

:39:47.:39:53.

organise a bomb? Who is the track record of political violence? One

:39:53.:39:59.

cannot rule out the Belarus state murdering its own people. I asked

:39:59.:40:06.

Luba, where she found her courage? TRANSLATION: It's not bravery, it's

:40:06.:40:13.

passion for the life of my son. I knew my son wasn't guilty. I knew

:40:13.:40:18.

Dima wasn't guilty. But I was powerless against the authorities.

:40:18.:40:24.

I wasn't able to do anything. I wasn't able to save the children. I

:40:24.:40:34.
:40:34.:40:35.

couldn't do anything. Some of you will be baffled, I guarantee, Danny

:40:35.:40:40.

Boyle prove sized ahead of the opening ceremony, in the end the

:40:40.:40:46.

majority were bowled over, by a performance that broke broadcasting

:40:46.:40:50.

records. It showed us a Britain, anarchic and quietly traditional,

:40:50.:40:54.

able to celebrate the cock-up, and funny, in both senses of the word.

:40:54.:40:59.

We are joined by our guests, the designer of the cauldron, great to

:40:59.:41:02.

have both of you with us, and the screenwriter for the event. Talk us

:41:02.:41:07.

through the starting point for the ideas, where did you begin? Danny

:41:07.:41:12.

asked me out for a cup of tea about two-and-a-half years ago. I thought

:41:12.:41:17.

he was going to me to write a film. I said -- ask me to write fame. He

:41:17.:41:21.

said it is not what you think it is, it is the Olympics opening ceremony.

:41:21.:41:26.

At that point there was a small team, myself, the designer and the

:41:26.:41:30.

little teams, we just threw ideas around in a room. It was like being

:41:30.:41:35.

at primary school, we cut our favourite things out and made

:41:35.:41:39.

scrapbooks and collages on the wall, and talked about what we loved

:41:39.:41:42.

about Britain, and slowly things crystalised. Did you have, one

:41:42.:41:47.

thing that really put this apart, of the humour, did you have a brief

:41:47.:41:52.

to be funny? For example, the single note of Mr Bean, what was

:41:52.:41:56.

the moment at which that was clinched? Straight away, I would

:41:56.:41:59.

say. We didn't have a brief, but Danny came into the room and said

:41:59.:42:05.

we have to change the game from Beijing, that was huge, the end of

:42:05.:42:09.

punk rock, if you want to put it. Massive thing with huge numbers of

:42:09.:42:12.

people. We have got to change the game and do something very, very

:42:12.:42:16.

different. We have to celebrate our eccentricity, and how funny we are.

:42:16.:42:20.

If you think about Beijing, beautiful thing, but very huge

:42:21.:42:24.

numbers of people, very drilled. What was amazing about our

:42:24.:42:28.

spectacle is wherever you looked people were doing something

:42:28.:42:31.

different. That was possible because the volunteers themselves

:42:31.:42:36.

were so creative, and brought so much to the process themselves. It

:42:36.:42:40.

wasn't just a decision to be more individual, but that people who

:42:40.:42:46.

came were themselves very individual. Thomas, individualist

:42:46.:42:52.

enough to code name your cauldron, "Betty". Talk us through that one?

:42:52.:42:59.

That was one of the technical, the producers, the problem was that

:42:59.:43:04.

there were two or three parts of the ceremony that had to be kept

:43:04.:43:12.

top secret, if there was correspondence that said "cauldron

:43:12.:43:18.

on it", it wouldn't be so good. There was the dog of the --

:43:18.:43:22.

"cauldron" on it, it wouldn't be so good. There was a dog of one of the

:43:22.:43:26.

producers called Betty, we decided to use that. How long did it take

:43:26.:43:31.

to build? It was built in the north of England, it was reversed in

:43:31.:43:36.

somewhere in Yorkshire near Harrogate. It came to the maid main

:43:36.:43:43.

stadium, and we only reers -- main stadium, we only rehearsed it at

:43:44.:43:47.

3.00am once the performers went home. There was only ten people who

:43:47.:43:52.

knew what it was. We are looking at the pictures now, when you saw it

:43:52.:43:57.

on the moment, was there any doubt in your mind, were you still scared

:43:57.:44:04.

it would work. We had rehearsed it. -- We had

:44:04.:44:07.

rehearsed enough that I knew there was a risk. But I sort of trusted

:44:07.:44:13.

Dany and his team. I trusted the engineers who had built it. I

:44:13.:44:18.

trusted that we had worked through it, and it was enough times. What

:44:18.:44:23.

were you doing? I was standing gripping a chair in the stadium,

:44:23.:44:32.

looking down, just letting it wash over me. Because what we, normally

:44:32.:44:37.

a cauldron is a thing stuck on the top of a stadium. When we were

:44:37.:44:46.

originally briefed by Loughran, the -- LOCOG, the organising committee,

:44:46.:44:50.

they said there was a bit of the roof strengthened ready to put the

:44:50.:44:55.

thing on. You wanted it, you didn't mind that people couldn't see it

:44:55.:44:59.

outside? The first conversation with Danny was about trying to root

:44:59.:45:04.

a ceremony in the spectator, and with the athletes. It felt that the

:45:04.:45:11.

act of sticking it on the roof was sort of for the rest of the world,

:45:11.:45:17.

rather than rooting it, and the stadium itself is quite a pure

:45:17.:45:23.

shape. To some extent it is like a temple. It felt where would you put

:45:23.:45:28.

that antique, it is like an altar, it felt this absolute centre of

:45:28.:45:34.

such a pure form some how felt the only place we could put it. Back do

:45:34.:45:39.

you, would you accept that there were political choices in that

:45:39.:45:45.

production, the revolutions were in, the empire of out, the NHS, CND,

:45:45.:45:50.

both very graph clo displayed. Was that a dlib -- graphically

:45:50.:45:54.

displayed? Do you mean a left-right thing? I genuinely think the

:45:54.:46:00.

opening ceremony was a great work of art. Any great work of art will

:46:00.:46:03.

contain contradictions, and people can take from it whatever they want.

:46:03.:46:09.

It is absolutely fine by me for Aidan Burden to think it is left-

:46:10.:46:17.

wing, and it is fine by me that Boris thinking Mary Poppins

:46:17.:46:20.

represents Margaret Thatcher vanquishing the miner, they are

:46:20.:46:24.

both completely wrong but enjoyable. If people are looking for messages,

:46:24.:46:29.

one critic wrote it was about a Britain feeling comfortable with

:46:29.:46:33.

itself post-empire. Was there a message as to what find of country

:46:33.:46:36.

we are now? The message is we dropped something in there. We

:46:36.:46:40.

tried our best and came up with lots of amazing things. I think

:46:40.:46:46.

what it became, was the volunteers, and how much they brought to it.

:46:46.:46:51.

The thing itself, you know, against the background where people have

:46:51.:46:54.

been paid huge amount of money in this country, and got things very

:46:54.:46:58.

wrong. Here were a group of 7,000 people who paid nothing at all, who

:46:58.:47:04.

turned up night after night in the rain, and performed this amazing

:47:04.:47:08.

miracle. I would like it if it opened a debate about how to

:47:08.:47:12.

motivate people. Do we motivate people by money, or are the better

:47:12.:47:16.

people who are motivated by something else. It is political in

:47:16.:47:19.

that sense, in that something happened. It would be really good

:47:19.:47:23.

if we thought about what that meant and what happened to us there. As

:47:23.:47:27.

if it was a barium meal showing up what was right and what was wrong

:47:27.:47:31.

in the country. If that was not as clearly understood by foreigner, as

:47:31.:47:36.

to those watching at home, the quirky moments, the fish, the cart

:47:36.:47:42.

horse, the sheep, did that matter. Boyle said people would be baffled

:47:42.:47:47.

by it? I don't know, it had huge viewing figures in America. I think

:47:47.:47:50.

people have embraced it. Why shouldn't you challenge people. Why

:47:50.:47:57.

should you go for a lowest common denominator, anadyne McDonalds

:47:57.:48:01.

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