17/01/2013 Newsnight


17/01/2013

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


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As we go on air strikes the Algerian hostage crisis is still

:00:12.:00:16.

unfolding. But there is still no clarity, as the number of oil

:00:16.:00:20.

workers involved, the number of casualties, or the attempted rescue

:00:20.:00:23.

operation at the plant by Algerian forces is actually, as the Algerian

:00:23.:00:27.

Government claims, over. The Prime Minister cancelled a speech on

:00:27.:00:32.

Europe tomorrow, and was grave when he spoke earlier tonight. It is a

:00:32.:00:36.

very dangerous, very uncertain, a very fluid situation, we have to

:00:37.:00:40.

prepare ourselves for the possibility of bad news ahead.

:00:40.:00:43.

will have the latest news as it unfolds, we will be joined by

:00:44.:00:49.

politicians and experts to discuss the crisis and the implications for

:00:49.:00:53.

foreign policy, and for western commercial activity in Algeria. A

:00:53.:00:58.

new era in medicine, the Government has plans for a national DNA

:00:58.:01:02.

database, but what benefits if we share and share alike.

:01:02.:01:04.

Government thinks the health and wealth of the nation could benefit

:01:04.:01:09.

if we were all a little more open with our data. So the qi question

:01:09.:01:14.

is, how far are we prepared -- so the question is, how far are we

:01:14.:01:18.

prepared to trade our personal information for the promise of a

:01:18.:01:24.

healthier future. And...Bear Grylls has just filmed a series on which

:01:24.:01:31.

he takes celebrities on adventures, he took them on adventures and

:01:31.:01:38.

Miranda up the hill. Charlotte Green, - sarndy Green is about to

:01:38.:01:47.

hang up her Microphon. If you have anything good to say give it to her,

:01:47.:01:52.

and her fall ago I part is one of my favourites moments.

:01:52.:01:56.

Good evening, the Prime Minister has said tonight we must brace

:01:57.:02:00.

ourselves for very difficult news at the hostage crisis at the

:02:00.:02:04.

Algerian gas plant. Now we expect multiple casualties. This evening

:02:04.:02:08.

the Algerian communication minister went on Algerian television to say

:02:08.:02:11.

the operation had been successful. We already know from the Algerian

:02:11.:02:15.

authorities that there are fatalities among the hostages, and

:02:15.:02:18.

also the Islamist militant terrorists responsele for the

:02:18.:02:24.

attack. Among the hostages in the Amenas plant in the oil region are

:02:24.:02:29.

British, French, Japanese and spweed and possibly Filipinos, one

:02:29.:02:33.

Irishman, Stephen McFaul is free, and perhaps three others. Earlier

:02:33.:02:38.

tonight David Cameron called off his speech tomorrow on Britain's

:02:38.:02:42.

future in Europe to concentrate on the crisis. Downing Street was

:02:42.:02:49.

surprised by the decision of Algeria to storm the ground by air

:02:49.:02:54.

and ground. Francois Hollande, the French President, said the action

:02:54.:03:00.

today justifies the decision to inter veen in neighbouring mal--

:03:00.:03:06.

intervene in neighbouring Mali. Mark, first of all, what was the im

:03:06.:03:09.

port of what David Cameron said tonight about preparing ourselves

:03:09.:03:14.

for bad news, do you think? I think he was expressing the concerns that

:03:14.:03:17.

resulted from the way this had unfolded this afternoon. Causing,

:03:17.:03:23.

as you say, him to cancel this long-awaited Europe speech here in

:03:23.:03:28.

Amsterdam. What became clear this afternoon was that an Algerian

:03:28.:03:33.

military operation had started, obviously without consultation with

:03:33.:03:38.

the British and other Governments, whose citizens were being held

:03:38.:03:42.

hostage. My understanding is, that Foreign Office and MI6 personnel

:03:42.:03:46.

were on the ground in Algeria, and it was from them that the British

:03:46.:03:49.

Government first learned the news that something was happening. That

:03:49.:03:53.

shots were being fired, and that the thing had turned violent. There

:03:53.:03:57.

are two versions about what happened, the first is that the

:03:58.:04:00.

hostage takers put many of the hostages in vehicles, and decided

:04:00.:04:05.

to try to break out, or move them out of the compound, the other is

:04:05.:04:09.

that the Algerian army had given some sort of ultimatum or warning,

:04:09.:04:13.

and that shots started when that ultimatum had expired. But one

:04:13.:04:18.

thing is clear, that once the violence got under way, the

:04:18.:04:21.

situation rapidly became much more serious, and quite a few people

:04:21.:04:26.

were killed. Now, as you mentioned earlier, the Algerian Information

:04:26.:04:30.

Minister has put a positive spin on this, and said that many of the

:04:30.:04:35.

hostages were freed, and that many of the militants were killed or

:04:35.:04:39.

captured. It is still a confused situation. And Downing Street has

:04:39.:04:46.

urged people to expect bad news. know Stephen McFaul either escaped

:04:46.:04:49.

or was freed, we know nothing about him, but we don't know anything

:04:49.:04:55.

about any of the other hostages. Why do you think the Algerian

:04:55.:04:59.

Government went ahead. They were in conversation with Downing Street

:04:59.:05:05.

without consultation? It seems that they didn't consult with any of the

:05:05.:05:08.

other Governments, we know for example, from the Irish Foreign

:05:08.:05:11.

Minister, who said this evening, that they weren't consulted, that

:05:11.:05:17.

is what sources in London suggest too. The US, which has said that it

:05:17.:05:21.

had six or seven people among the hostages there, also, it seems,

:05:21.:05:26.

learned about things as they turned violent, not before. It could be as

:05:26.:05:29.

simple as a commander on the ground taking a decision, events getting

:05:29.:05:34.

out of control, it could be that in some sense, the Algerian Government

:05:34.:05:39.

felt that this was too good an opportunity to miss to try to stop

:05:39.:05:44.

this notorious Islamist gang, for once and for all. But the simple

:05:44.:05:47.

truth is, in these situations where you are, if you like, in governed

:05:47.:05:51.

rather than ungoverned space, the will of the sovereign Government

:05:51.:05:55.

will always be paramount. There was one a couple of years ago, where

:05:55.:05:59.

the British wanted to free a hostage, had forces in place to do

:05:59.:06:04.

so, but the word never came, and that person was murdered.

:06:04.:06:08.

These situations never end exactly the same way. But does history tell

:06:08.:06:17.

us anything? An interesting counter point is what happened in march

:06:17.:06:21.

2011, when the -- March 2011 when the Libyan revolution had started.

:06:21.:06:26.

Another one of these big facilities in The Sahara, in the far south of

:06:26.:06:31.

Libya, came under threat. There were 150 foreign workers near Zili

:06:31.:06:34.

in the desert down there, they felt armed gangs were either going to

:06:34.:06:38.

take them hostage or start using violence towards them. At that

:06:38.:06:41.

point, in part, because of the ungoverned nature of the space, the

:06:41.:06:45.

British decided to mount a rescue operation, they sent the Special

:06:45.:06:50.

Forces from the SBS, and RAF Hercules planes in there they

:06:50.:06:53.

rescued the people. There were some shots fired, but essentially the

:06:53.:06:58.

operation was carried out without a great deal of trouble. So it can

:06:58.:07:03.

end in a positive way. If you are able, if you like, hold all the

:07:03.:07:07.

cards, in terms of making those decisions, about when to go in, and

:07:07.:07:10.

when to extract people, foreign nationals. In that case, many of

:07:10.:07:13.

them were not British, but the British felt a responsibility to

:07:13.:07:17.

their own people and the wider foreign community there. Equally,

:07:17.:07:22.

it can go totally disastrously wrong, go back to 1978, an Egyptian

:07:22.:07:27.

plane was hijacked, taken to Cyprus, Egyptian commandos then tried to

:07:27.:07:31.

storm the plane in Cyprus, without the permission of the Cypriot

:07:31.:07:35.

Government, they ended up in gun fights with the Cypriot police and

:07:35.:07:39.

troops, 15 of their commandos were killed, et cetera, et cetera. So,

:07:39.:07:43.

that kind of macho attempt to determine the outcome of these

:07:43.:07:48.

things, has, in the past, gone disastrously wrong. We see the

:07:48.:07:51.

other extreme with the British mission in Libya nearly two years

:07:51.:07:55.

ago. In the intervening years, countless examples where small

:07:55.:08:00.

numbers of people have been taken, particularly by this type of group

:08:00.:08:04.

in The Sahara, and randsoms have been paid, or some other

:08:04.:08:08.

arrangements have been reached, and people have been freed. We have

:08:08.:08:12.

been trying to piece together all today's events.

:08:12.:08:17.

The exact details of what happened today at the Ain Amenas in eastern

:08:17.:08:22.

Algeria are still unclear. But certainly the operation by the

:08:22.:08:25.

Algerian military to rescue the hostages, held there since

:08:25.:08:29.

yesterday by Islamist militants, went badly wrong. Earlier in the

:08:29.:08:33.

day there was some good news, as one hostage, Stephen McFaul from

:08:33.:08:38.

Belfast, phoned his family to say that some how he was free.

:08:38.:08:43.

elated. I just can't describe how happy I am. I didn't think we

:08:43.:08:48.

would...I didn't think we would get this so soon. But even as the

:08:48.:08:50.

rescue operation continued, the British Government sought to

:08:50.:08:55.

prepare others for the worst. a very dangerous and very uncertain

:08:55.:09:00.

and fluid situation. I think we have to prepare ourselves for the

:09:00.:09:06.

possibility of bad news ahead. COBRA officials here are working

:09:06.:09:09.

around the clock to do everything we can to keep in contact with the

:09:09.:09:13.

families, to build the fullest possible picture of the information

:09:13.:09:17.

and the intelligence that we have. I have chaired meetings of COBRA

:09:17.:09:22.

today, I will continue to do so. I will do everything I can to update

:09:22.:09:24.

people about what is a difficult and dangerous and potentially very

:09:25.:09:29.

bad situation. Now, several hours later, there are

:09:29.:09:34.

still conflicting reports about how many died, in an operation the UK

:09:34.:09:44.
:09:44.:09:45.

wasn't warned about in advance. Downing Street has let it be known

:09:45.:09:49.

about Algeria not letting other states know before mounting

:09:49.:09:54.

operations. The Foreign Office offered advice on siege tactics and

:09:54.:09:57.

other information, but it was ignored. When they began their

:09:57.:10:02.

assault, the Government here was completely shocked. Why did it end

:10:02.:10:06.

like this, this is a former Jihadi fighter, who tracks the activities

:10:06.:10:10.

of Islamist commanders, some of which he knew personally, and

:10:10.:10:14.

Government's response to them. the incident happened in gall

:10:14.:10:17.

gearia, they would like to set up from now the standards of the

:10:17.:10:20.

Algerians, there is no negotiations with terrorists, we are not going

:10:20.:10:24.

to accept to be the victims of this intervention, this is our methods,

:10:24.:10:29.

this is our measures, which is very brutal, and very direct. Military-

:10:29.:10:35.

based, even if there is other victims from civilians. It is the

:10:35.:10:39.

conflict in Mali, its southern neighbour, that Algeria wants to

:10:39.:10:44.

insulate itself from. French forces moved in there last week to try to

:10:44.:10:48.

crush a growing Islamist insurgency. Was the attack on the western gas

:10:48.:10:52.

workers, that now appears to have ended in such tragedy, a direct

:10:52.:10:57.

retaliation for that. This attack, has been planned for many, many

:10:57.:11:00.

months before the French intervention or international

:11:00.:11:04.

intervention in Mali. But just, I think, when it happened last week,

:11:05.:11:11.

maybe it gave the terrorist group a legitimate, from the ideolgical

:11:11.:11:15.

point of view, legitimate reasons to carry out the attack. Because

:11:15.:11:21.

the group itself, or the nature of the leader of the group, by is

:11:21.:11:26.

Mokhtar Belmokhtar, if we study his history over the last ten years, he

:11:26.:11:32.

usually asks for ransomes, he has never been -- randsons, he has

:11:32.:11:38.

never been involved in killing or capturing hostages. Whatever his

:11:38.:11:41.

reasons, we know that Mokhtar Belmokhtar and those like him are a

:11:41.:11:47.

real threat of the west. Until recently he was head of Al-Qaeda in

:11:47.:11:50.

the Islamic Maghreg, one of the Islamist groups who have been

:11:50.:11:53.

building up their strength throughout this poorly defended

:11:53.:11:57.

region of porous borders. It was in Algeria in the 1990s, that those

:11:57.:12:00.

groups first launched a major insurge circumstance eventually

:12:00.:12:05.

defeated by the Government, at a cost of 150,000 lives, perhaps. In

:12:05.:12:09.

Libya, since the fall of Colonel Gaddafi, some of the Islamists he

:12:09.:12:14.

once defeated have now returned. And some, like others from Algeria,

:12:14.:12:17.

have crossed The Sahara into northern Mali, taking advantage of

:12:17.:12:23.

the collapse of state authority, in the wake of a rebellion by ethnic

:12:23.:12:27.

Tuareg seperatists. Some of those Islamists are believed to have

:12:27.:12:30.

training from Al-Shabab, the militant Islamist group that has

:12:31.:12:34.

controlled much of Somalia in recent years. They have been joined

:12:34.:12:38.

by fighters from Nigeria, from the Islamist group, Boko Haram,

:12:38.:12:44.

fighting the Government there. Shabab in Somalia, they trained

:12:44.:12:48.

explosive makers and experts for Boko Haram, and Boko Haram

:12:48.:12:54.

themselves, they have a significant number of many of their fighters in

:12:54.:12:57.

northern Mali, to establish networks and connection and co-

:12:57.:13:01.

operation between the other groups in northern Mali. And why? Because

:13:01.:13:05.

they share the same ideology and the same goals. This ideology and

:13:05.:13:09.

goals is very important, this is the culture that is keeping the

:13:09.:13:14.

network together. It acts as the Super Glue to hold all this loose

:13:14.:13:18.

network together. To counter that threat, Nigerian

:13:18.:13:23.

troops are now following the French into Mali, to join an operation

:13:23.:13:27.

that President Hollande today said had been proved to be justified.

:13:27.:13:30.

TRANSLATION: What's happening in Algeria absolutely justifies a

:13:30.:13:34.

decision I took on behalf of France to come to the help of Mali, in

:13:34.:13:39.

accordance with the United Nations charter, and at the request of the

:13:39.:13:42.

President of Mali. Today's terrible events in Algeria, though, suggest

:13:42.:13:46.

that in the short-term at least, the north African Islamist threat

:13:46.:13:50.

can only increase. There is a surge of militantcy at the moment, it is

:13:50.:13:55.

linked to what's happening in Afghanistan, and in Somalia, and

:13:55.:14:01.

they are trying to create the same sort of pushback against the west,

:14:01.:14:05.

and non-Islamic people. I think it will be very dangerous for non-

:14:05.:14:09.

Islamic people, for Europeans, to travel in these countries for the

:14:09.:14:15.

next few years. I think they really do have got their selves now, and I

:14:15.:14:17.

don't think the Governments -- themselves now, and I don't think

:14:17.:14:21.

the Governments have the capacity to contain them. Today's tragedy

:14:21.:14:23.

will change our whole view of the region.

:14:23.:14:28.

With me to discuss the latest in the hostage situation are the

:14:28.:14:33.

former Lib Dem leader and member of the Intelligence and Security

:14:33.:14:37.

Committee, Ming the Merciless Campbell. And from Washington the

:14:37.:14:41.

former US Assistant Secretary of State for public affairs, now a

:14:41.:14:45.

fellow at the George Washington Institute for Public diplomacy.

:14:45.:14:51.

Ming the Merciless Campbell, it must be a draet -- Ming Campbell,

:14:51.:14:55.

it must be terrible for the families that no information is

:14:55.:15:00.

known. Today in the Scottish Parliament, Alex Salmond indicated

:15:00.:15:03.

that two of the hostages are Scottish, is there any information

:15:03.:15:08.

on that? There doesn't appear to be any more information on that at the

:15:08.:15:11.

moment. I understand Alex Salmond was speaking after a conversation

:15:11.:15:16.

with the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister after a meeting of COBR A,

:15:16.:15:20.

that is the committee immediately formed when crises of this kind

:15:20.:15:25.

occur. It seems to me that one of the first questions will be, did

:15:25.:15:29.

the Algerian Government act out of necessity, or was it out of some

:15:29.:15:35.

kind of view of national pride? The answer to that question may be very

:15:35.:15:40.

important in so far as if there is a breakdown in relations between

:15:40.:15:43.

the Governments of those who have been killed, and the Algerian

:15:43.:15:47.

Government, that may make finding out exactly what happened more

:15:48.:15:51.

difficult. Especially as we know the Algerian Government say no to

:15:51.:15:55.

negotiation, we just heard on the report that there was quite a lot

:15:55.:16:00.

of traffic between Number Ten and the Foreign Office, and Algeria,

:16:00.:16:05.

saying negotiate, discuss, hold off, by clearly was either ignored or,

:16:05.:16:09.

by the necessity, ignored? You can have a policy of saying we are not

:16:09.:16:13.

going to negotiate, but that doesn't mean to say you have to

:16:13.:16:18.

take action as soon as appears to have happened in this case. If you

:16:18.:16:23.

think about it, British Special Forces, and American special force,

:16:24.:16:27.

and French Special Forces, have got a much greater amount of experience

:16:28.:16:33.

about this kind of thing than putting it bluntly, any Algerian

:16:33.:16:37.

equivalent might have. That is why there will be suspicions that this

:16:37.:16:40.

was an -- suspicions that this was an action taken out of national

:16:40.:16:43.

pride. Whatever the reason it was taken for, none the less, as the

:16:43.:16:49.

Prime Minister said, if I may say so, in a some sombre mood than I

:16:49.:16:53.

have ever seen him before, we have to expect the worse, and what has

:16:53.:16:58.

been called, "multiple casualties". From your point of view, if Number

:16:58.:17:05.

Ten was talking to the Algerians about tactics, it would be

:17:05.:17:07.

presumably inconceivable that the state department was not also doing

:17:07.:17:11.

the same thing? The state department has been in touch with

:17:11.:17:14.

senior Algerian officials, including the Prime Minister. I do

:17:14.:17:20.

not know what kinds of consultations occurred today,

:17:20.:17:23.

either immediately before or after the Algerian action. I think you

:17:24.:17:28.

have to put this in context with Algeria's history. I'm not sure it

:17:28.:17:32.

is about national pride as much as steps that Algeria has taken, not

:17:33.:17:37.

only going back into the 1990s, but also over the past two years to try

:17:37.:17:41.

to insulate itself from trends that are happening in neighbouring

:17:41.:17:44.

countries. Do you think it is quite shocking to the Americans that they

:17:44.:17:48.

went in today, or do you think the Americans thought that Algeria

:17:48.:17:55.

would do it their own way? I think there has been an effort in recent

:17:55.:18:00.

weeks and months to get Algeria more engaged in trying to help

:18:00.:18:07.

solve the situation in Mali, and Algeria has been involved in some

:18:07.:18:11.

dialogue to try to work with all the forces in northern Mali. It is

:18:11.:18:18.

a really interesting mix. You have got Tuareg, indigenous Tuareg

:18:18.:18:26.

tribes that have historical historical grievances, and

:18:26.:18:30.

opportunists in it for the revenue from hostage taking, and you have

:18:30.:18:34.

these elements closely linked to Al-Qaeda in the Maghreg. It has

:18:34.:18:37.

been very, very difficult for all the stakeholders to try to sort out

:18:38.:18:42.

who are those you can deal with and who are those you can't. At the

:18:42.:18:46.

very heart of this, Claire, is Al- Qaeda, a former commander of Al-

:18:46.:18:50.

Qaeda. Before we actually get on to that, what went wrong today, do you

:18:50.:18:54.

think? I think we have to reserve judgment until we get more

:18:54.:18:58.

information about what was actually going on amongst the hostage takers

:18:58.:19:02.

and the hostages. There were reports yesterday, for example,

:19:02.:19:06.

that explosives were strapped to the hostages, and that there were

:19:06.:19:10.

threats to kill them straight away, should any attack like this be

:19:10.:19:15.

launched. Somewhere inbetween this, there must have been a calculation

:19:15.:19:19.

that a surprise attack would happen before they could actually detonate,

:19:19.:19:23.

if you like, sadly, some of the hostages. Do you think that is why

:19:23.:19:26.

Algeria might have moved very quickly, because of the idea that

:19:26.:19:30.

there were suicide bombers. Obviously they would have needed

:19:30.:19:33.

some kind of intelligence about where the hostages are. I

:19:33.:19:35.

understand one of the reasons they have been saying the mission wasn't

:19:35.:19:43.

complete earlier this evening, was that they had to search the whole

:19:43.:19:46.

facility to see if people were hiding out in it. We are in

:19:46.:19:50.

situation now where we are dealing with, not Al-Qaeda itself, but

:19:50.:19:54.

Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who himself is trying to improve himself, even he

:19:54.:19:59.

is slightly separate from Al-Qaeda in the region. In the report it was

:19:59.:20:03.

saying that in the area Al-Qaeda is completely unfettered by the idea

:20:03.:20:07.

of nation states. In a sense, no matter how much Algeria is trying

:20:07.:20:11.

to be brought into the fold, is it extremely dangerous place for all

:20:11.:20:17.

these companies, that are trying to move in there, British Airways,

:20:17.:20:19.

GlaxoSmithKline, all these companies trying to do business?

:20:19.:20:22.

One of the things that will have to be investigated is how it was

:20:22.:20:27.

possible, in an area where, as we know in the 1990, there was always

:20:27.:20:31.

a possibility, Algeria itself was ridden with internal violence, of

:20:31.:20:35.

an Islamist nature, but other factors at play, there were big

:20:36.:20:40.

fears then that the oil and gas facilities would be attacked by

:20:40.:20:44.

insurgents of different kinds, and largely, they weren't. A lot of gas

:20:44.:20:48.

pipelines were attacked but they were repaired. What has gone on

:20:48.:20:53.

recently, it has been fairly safe, yet this Al-Qaeda in the Islamic

:20:53.:20:57.

Maghreg has a residual presence, not much, around 200 people in

:20:57.:21:02.

Algeria itself, but have also migrated, not just across the

:21:03.:21:06.

Sahara but other regions. They haven't attacked the facilities in

:21:06.:21:13.

recent years, why now. They claimed yesterday, Mokhtar's crew, that it

:21:13.:21:17.

was associated with the French attacks in Mali. Mokhtar, what was

:21:17.:21:25.

it, was it ransome, or was it Mali? -- randson or Mali? I think it is

:21:25.:21:29.

interesting, he was the leader of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic faction in

:21:29.:21:34.

malli. He has been part of the faction that has enriched himself

:21:34.:21:37.

through that. He has been reported to have separated himself, had an

:21:37.:21:43.

argument with other leaders, this is a new faction movement he's

:21:44.:21:47.

heading. Do you think, Francois Hollande says this justifies

:21:47.:21:53.

France's action in national Mali. Do you think the two are linked?

:21:53.:21:57.

think that's an inference that people will want to example very,

:21:57.:22:02.

very carefully, I'm not sure I would go along with Mr Hollande to

:22:02.:22:05.

say this justifies the French action. Afterall the French action

:22:05.:22:08.

was taken for a particular purpose in relation to Mali. What people

:22:08.:22:16.

want to know is whether it is a consequence that came of the French

:22:16.:22:22.

action. What people want to know is whether it means, rather as some

:22:22.:22:25.

other contributors have indicated, whether it will be regarded as open

:22:25.:22:33.

season on these plants. Which are soft target. They are enormous and

:22:33.:22:35.

difficult to guard. It would be virtually impossible to make sure

:22:35.:22:40.

you could keep them safe in all circumstances, against a determined

:22:40.:22:43.

Islamist terrorist force like the one we are talking about. Which

:22:43.:22:50.

then, begs the question, there may be some help being given by British

:22:50.:22:55.

forces in malli. It begs the question will British forces have

:22:55.:23:03.

to become part of the operation in Mali? What we have so far

:23:03.:23:08.

contributed it is the provision of transport aircraft, two C-17s, and

:23:08.:23:12.

the crime up until now has been pretty strong, as indeed has the

:23:12.:23:15.

Foreign Secretary, in saying there is no intention of putting British

:23:15.:23:20.

boots on the ground. I have to say there was general support in the

:23:20.:23:24.

House of Commons for the action taken so far, if that were to be

:23:24.:23:29.

extended, either by in degree or inkind, there would be very

:23:29.:23:32.

substantial political reservation, and also, in the light of our

:23:32.:23:37.

recent history in Afghanistan and before that Iraq, very considerable

:23:37.:23:42.

reservations in the minds of the public. The huge resistance among

:23:42.:23:46.

ordinary Americans about getting embroiled in Mali, it mate be, if

:23:46.:23:49.

this is the big focus for Al-Qaeda, that the US might have no other

:23:49.:23:54.

action but to become embroiled in Mali with the French? It is not

:23:54.:23:57.

likely that the United States will become directly involved, because

:23:57.:24:02.

by US law, because there was the military coup last March, the

:24:02.:24:07.

United States has prevented -- is prevent the legally from providing

:24:07.:24:12.

assistance to the mally Government. A lot of lawyers here in Washington

:24:12.:24:16.

are working overtime to find out how to support the French and the

:24:16.:24:22.

in coming African intervention force, without breaking US law. I

:24:22.:24:26.

do think that it will accelerate the planning that was already under

:24:27.:24:31.

way. Because obviously what we are seeing on the ground is perhaps a

:24:31.:24:37.

far more dangerous situation, and the capabilities of the insurgents

:24:37.:24:41.

are much more significant than might have been initially assessed.

:24:41.:24:45.

But, you know, where as the United States has taken direct action in

:24:45.:24:50.

places like Pakistan and Yemen, Mali will follow, I think, the

:24:50.:24:54.

Somali model, where you will be empowering indigenous regional

:24:54.:25:00.

forces to take action, in Somalia it has been successful, as of yet

:25:00.:25:03.

not successful in Mali. You were saying, we know tonight that sat

:25:03.:25:11.

oil and BP are pulling -- Statoil, and BP are pulling out all but

:25:11.:25:15.

essential workers in the two plants in Algeria. If Algeria thinks it is

:25:15.:25:18.

literally drawing blood, do you think that the push will really be

:25:18.:25:24.

done to make the western companies feel very uncomfortable in Algeria?

:25:24.:25:27.

It depends how many survive the attack. Don't forget the movements

:25:27.:25:31.

are still very small. I don't know how many are involved in this

:25:31.:25:34.

current assault, there is about 20, but I think we are talking all

:25:35.:25:39.

about 200 people, perhaps in these movements. They know the terrain

:25:39.:25:44.

very well. They have been operating in these very difficult areas for

:25:44.:25:47.

some time. At least over the last four or five years. They have

:25:47.:25:52.

become wealthy. They are not just involved in taking previous

:25:52.:25:56.

hostages for money, don't forget the French still have a number of

:25:56.:26:03.

French hostages, there are others still in the region who have yet to

:26:03.:26:06.

be asked for money. They have the opportunity of withdrawing and

:26:06.:26:10.

doing this on a future occasion if they retain the ability to do so.

:26:10.:26:13.

We really need to wait until the outcome of this current crisis to

:26:13.:26:17.

ask some of these questions about why curt had got so lax, what is

:26:17.:26:23.

the rational now, if they haven't attacked, what essentially are a

:26:23.:26:26.

primary part of the Algerian economy. 97% of their income comes

:26:26.:26:31.

from exports of oil and gas. So if they haven't attacked them, if they

:26:31.:26:33.

are really against the Algerian authorities, why haven't they done

:26:33.:26:37.

this before, why have they been able do this in a situation where

:26:37.:26:40.

security measures have been taken. Thank you all very much indeed. If

:26:40.:26:44.

we have any more news from Algeria, of course we will bring it to you

:26:44.:26:49.

during the programme. Big Data is one of the Government's

:26:49.:26:52.

favourite big ideas, the idea is about analysing everyone from the

:26:52.:26:57.

police to retailers to doctors, and even sports teams will you ever

:26:57.:27:02.

cover trends, fresh insights into the way the world looks.

:27:02.:27:05.

Enthusiasts say we should use better use of this stash of

:27:05.:27:10.

digitised information, to make us more efficient and save money. It

:27:10.:27:15.

is contentious, much of this information is personal and some

:27:15.:27:21.

private. Many databases are being created for our most intimate data,

:27:21.:27:25.

our DNA, the information that describes us. Who will decide who

:27:25.:27:35.
:27:35.:27:39.

gets to know what? And will it revolutionise medicine? Most of the

:27:39.:27:43.

time we are not aware of it, but as we go about our daily lives we

:27:43.:27:48.

create a trail. A trail of data, and masses of it. A digital record

:27:49.:27:53.

of where we are and what we are doing. As computing power increases,

:27:53.:27:58.

and gets cheaper, we can gather and analyse this information on an

:27:58.:28:04.

ever-grander scale. We live in what's being called the era of big

:28:04.:28:10.

data. Unlocking the messages held within this mass of raw data, could

:28:10.:28:15.

help us to lead lives that are more efficient and save money. But could

:28:15.:28:19.

also reveal information about each and every one of us that is

:28:19.:28:23.

sensitive. Many of us might not care too much about some of the

:28:23.:28:27.

data that's collected on us, say what we buy at the supermarket or

:28:27.:28:30.

how we use public transport. But when it comes to information about

:28:30.:28:35.

our health, many of us see that has so personal, we want to be sure it

:28:35.:28:39.

is kept especially safe. The Government thinks the health and

:28:39.:28:42.

wealth of the nation could benefit if we were all a little more open

:28:42.:28:48.

with our data. So the question is, how far are we prepared to trade

:28:48.:28:52.

our personal information for the promise of a healthier future?

:28:52.:28:57.

passionate about this, because I see this as being quite a dramatic

:28:57.:29:04.

change in the way that medicine is likely to evolve. Given that a lot

:29:04.:29:08.

of this information is personally sensitive, it has to be used in the

:29:08.:29:11.

right way. You have to be honest with people about what is going on,

:29:11.:29:15.

and you have to give people the opportunity to opt-out. The grand

:29:15.:29:20.

bargain the Government is offering us, is if we give them our DNA they

:29:20.:29:22.

will revolutionise healthcare. It is not clear that the British

:29:22.:29:30.

public is actually willing to accept that bargain.

:29:30.:29:34.

The Government already seems pretty convinced, at the end of last year

:29:34.:29:38.

it launched a big data project for some of the most intimate of

:29:38.:29:43.

personal information. The DNA readout of 100,000 Britains,

:29:43.:29:47.

suffering from rare diseases and cancer. It is a -- Britons

:29:47.:29:52.

suffering from rare diseases and cancer. Not only does each patient

:29:53.:29:58.

have a unique DNA code, but so do their cancer tumour, doctors need

:29:59.:30:01.

both to identify the most appropriate treatment. It is the

:30:01.:30:05.

future for healthcare because we want to crack cancer, and the DNA

:30:05.:30:09.

database can help us to do that. We also want to keep Britain at the

:30:09.:30:13.

absolute forefront of Biotech nolg and pharmaceutical industries, we

:30:13.:30:20.

can be a real world-leader in this. So, aside from highlighting British

:30:20.:30:24.

innovation and attracting investment, the idea initially is

:30:24.:30:27.

to help people who are already sick, that is because we know, for

:30:27.:30:31.

example, that some people's cancer tumours will respond better to one

:30:31.:30:41.
:30:41.:30:43.

drug rather than another. For the rest of us, if enough people are on

:30:43.:30:46.

the database, trends will become clear. So we can be more confident

:30:46.:30:50.

that our personal DNA readout can be checked against the trends, and

:30:50.:30:54.

might warn us we are more at risk about certain diseases, and do

:30:54.:30:57.

something about it, like changing our lifestyle and getting screened.

:30:57.:31:01.

We might be able to avoid drugs known to be toxic in people who

:31:01.:31:04.

carry a similar genetic make up to our's.

:31:04.:31:09.

The data at the heart of the project is the DNA double heel lix,

:31:09.:31:15.

it is made of four -- helix, it is made of a code with four letters,

:31:15.:31:19.

the string of letters that spell out a human being is huge. It took

:31:19.:31:24.

about eight years and cost billions of dollars to unravel the first

:31:25.:31:29.

human genome. But now, the computer technology that made that possible

:31:29.:31:37.

is far more powerful and cheaper. It now take as little over a day to

:31:37.:31:41.

sequence a person's DNA, although it is not yet possible, there is

:31:41.:31:46.

talk of a $100 price tag. Cost serving, I wasn't talking about

:31:46.:31:49.

this two years ago, I wasn't even talking about it one year ago,

:31:49.:31:56.

because the cost of doing this was such that it would be an enormous

:31:56.:32:00.

burden to do it at scale, but the cost of sequencing a whole genome,

:32:00.:32:09.

as you know, has fallen by more than 100,000 fold in ten years.

:32:09.:32:16.

Andrew Wilkie works on rare genetic disorders, he uses the power of DNA

:32:16.:32:19.

sequences to look at cranial disorders. His work provides

:32:19.:32:22.

families with answers, and can help them make decisions about having

:32:22.:32:27.

more children. I return a small lab with about four staff working in it,

:32:27.:32:32.

in the past couple of years, we have identified as many new genes

:32:32.:32:39.

in my group of disorders, the facial malformation, as the entire

:32:39.:32:44.

world achieved in the previous decade. So, that's obviously

:32:44.:32:48.

spectacular progress. Also, of course, it represents incredibly

:32:49.:32:55.

good value for money. The NHS already has world class Big Data

:32:55.:33:00.

projects in place, notably a system that enables scientists to carry

:33:00.:33:05.

out research on our clinical information, once anon-miceed, and

:33:05.:33:10.

there are begin -- anonymised, and there are genetic databases too.

:33:10.:33:15.

The idea of bringing it all together is to create a much more

:33:15.:33:18.

powerful scheme of data, so scientists can better understand

:33:18.:33:21.

disease and people get better drugs that might suit their disease.

:33:21.:33:25.

of the things we have in the UK is scale. The truth is, there is lots

:33:25.:33:29.

of data systems in the world, which are five million people here and

:33:29.:33:33.

four-and-a-half million year, on tearia has one, Scotland, Australia,

:33:33.:33:36.

some of the healthcare systems in the states have got them. The great

:33:36.:33:42.

thing about the UK and the particularly UK NHS is it is 50

:33:43.:33:45.

million people, it is at that scale you will have the power to detect

:33:46.:33:49.

all kinds of things that are very powerful in terms of the management

:33:49.:33:53.

of the disease and have quite a profound impact. It may be some

:33:53.:33:58.

time before there are enough people signed up to realise the promised

:33:58.:34:08.
:34:08.:34:10.

power from gen omics in the UK. In Iceland they have already tried to

:34:10.:34:17.

harness its potential, although in on a smaller scale. A company

:34:17.:34:22.

called Deco Genetics set out to put the DNA code of the country's

:34:22.:34:28.

entire population. The aim was to identified genetic risks for common

:34:28.:34:33.

diseases. The project proved controversial over privacy and data

:34:33.:34:37.

projection issues, the Icelandic High Court questioned its legal

:34:37.:34:42.

basis. The Government boasts the UK will be the first country to

:34:42.:34:49.

introduce DNA seek qensing in a mainstream -- sequencing into a

:34:49.:34:54.

mainstream system. That is part of the problem. This computer expert

:34:54.:34:58.

said medical data is hard to protect, because it is so rich in

:34:58.:35:06.

information. The NHS has traditionally anon-ised details by

:35:06.:35:11.

taking off people's personal details but leaving on your date of

:35:11.:35:17.

birth and postcode. This doesn't give you any protection at all

:35:17.:35:21.

against a competent adversary. Postcode and date of birth is

:35:21.:35:26.

enough to identify 99% of people easily. There are all sorts of

:35:26.:35:30.

circumstances that will identify people uniquely, the fact that a

:35:30.:35:35.

certain person got a certain preeplt on a particular day, --

:35:35.:35:40.

treatment on a particular day may be well known, that might enable

:35:40.:35:44.

somebody to pick out their medical record from a database of 50

:35:44.:35:48.

million others. You probably can't get around the issue that no data

:35:48.:35:58.
:35:58.:35:59.

in any setting is absolutely anon- ised, and secure, -- anonymised and

:35:59.:36:03.

secure. I think the constraints in the system that have already been

:36:03.:36:07.

thought about, about other types of clinical data, are probably pretty

:36:07.:36:11.

secure. One of the great things about the databases is you may not

:36:11.:36:15.

be able to make it secure, but you know what everybody has done in the

:36:15.:36:19.

database, you can track down who has looked at what, when they have

:36:19.:36:23.

looked at it, how they have looked at it. The current plan seems to

:36:23.:36:28.

rely, in part, on limiting access to the data to trusted research

:36:28.:36:32.

partners. Whether in the public or private sector. But some say that's

:36:32.:36:35.

not enough, and want the Government to make clear the precise details

:36:35.:36:45.

of how it plans to keep our data secure? What we actually need is

:36:45.:36:48.

for anonymisation methods to be open to the public, so we can see

:36:48.:36:52.

what is happening to our data, and we can work out whether the

:36:52.:36:56.

protection is adequate. He want to see the mechanisms and test them, I

:36:56.:36:59.

want to be able to kick the tiles, if the Government is lying, I want

:36:59.:37:04.

to expose them and embarrass them for it. Bioth cyst, Stuart Hogarth,

:37:04.:37:09.

says he's not sure people are ready to buy in on this one. The grand

:37:09.:37:15.

bargain the Government is offering us, if we give them DNA, they will

:37:15.:37:20.

revolutionise healthcare, it is not clear that we need so much begin no

:37:20.:37:28.

mamic data to understand the begin et genomic data to understand our

:37:28.:37:32.

genes. It is not clear that the Government has the IT skills to put

:37:32.:37:35.

in place a giant project like this. It is not clear whether or not the

:37:35.:37:39.

British public will accept that bargain. Others think that if David

:37:39.:37:44.

Cameron's goal is to attract life sciences industries to the UK, he

:37:44.:37:48.

should look more widely than the promise of mass data sets. Richard

:37:48.:37:52.

Sullivan has worked in the pharmaceutical industry, and was

:37:52.:37:56.

clinical director of Cancer Research UK for eight years. There

:37:56.:38:00.

is absolutely no doubt the NHS is in a unique position to do all

:38:00.:38:03.

sorts of association and co- relation studies between science

:38:03.:38:07.

and patient outcome. The reality is industry is in the UK because of

:38:07.:38:10.

the excellence of the healthcare professionals and the ability of

:38:10.:38:13.

the NHS to do clinical trials, it is here because of the creativity

:38:13.:38:16.

and the brilliance of our scientists. That is what industry

:38:16.:38:22.

looks for. Not simply a very large data collection exercise. So before

:38:22.:38:27.

we embark on such big data experiments, whether with the

:38:27.:38:30.

nation's health or other private information. Many people want to be

:38:30.:38:34.

reassured that they will have the choice to opt in, rather than

:38:34.:38:38.

having to take the time and trouble to opt-out. They will want to know

:38:38.:38:42.

who stands to gain in this trade in data, they will want to be

:38:42.:38:46.

reassured that the Government has taken the best possible steps to

:38:46.:38:51.

protect sensitive information before it is handed over.

:38:51.:38:56.

The use of Big Data will grow, because it promises so much. But we

:38:56.:38:59.

will only know for certain who is doing what, with the data the

:38:59.:39:03.

Government holds on all of us, if it is used in a way that is open,

:39:03.:39:12.

testable and transparent. After a quarter of a century the

:39:12.:39:16.

Radio 4 news announcer, Charlotte Green is leaving the BBC tomorrow.

:39:16.:39:23.

Firstly, we must apologise for ridiculously playing the clip of

:39:23.:39:28.

another announcer Harriet Cass, she is leaving the BBC, but later in

:39:28.:39:34.

the year and that is no excuse for mixing the clips. She has

:39:34.:39:37.

unflapable poise, while yearning for one of her show-stopping fits

:39:37.:39:41.

of giggles. We have been speaking to the retiring voice of the nation.

:39:41.:39:47.

With the BBC News, Charlotte Green. It is hard to believe, I know, but

:39:47.:39:53.

the once lofty standards of broadcasting and grammar at the BBC

:39:53.:39:58.

are about to get a whole lot worseer. That is because of the one

:39:58.:40:01.

of the most beloved and trusted voices on radio is taking her leave

:40:01.:40:07.

of the mic. Charlotte Green is a self- effacing and admired. She

:40:07.:40:11.

agreed to talk to Newsnight, provided no-one could see she was

:40:11.:40:15.

on the programme. I know it has come to that! People have an image

:40:15.:40:23.

of you as being really very sober andsome better, because of how --

:40:24.:40:27.

sombre, because of how you read the bulletin. When they meet me, I like

:40:27.:40:31.

to have a laugh and have a lot of fun with people. For some,

:40:31.:40:35.

Charlotte will always be the voice of the shipping forecast. We may

:40:35.:40:43.

never know how many have found solace in her voice. They send me

:40:43.:40:47.

Valentine's cards, and rather sweet letters, actually. But with a

:40:47.:40:54.

certain whistfulness in them. the listeners you are the acme of

:40:54.:40:58.

professionalism. I'm really sorry. Just then Charlotte's mobile went

:40:58.:41:02.

off, there was evidence it was her presumed successor. Nine men have

:41:02.:41:05.

gone on trial at the Old Bailey...Butter Wouldn't melt,

:41:05.:41:08.

don't you believe it. American historians have discovered what

:41:08.:41:18.

they think is the earliest recording of the human voice.

:41:18.:41:23.

(laughs) The award-winning screenwriter Abby Mann as died at

:41:23.:41:32.

the age of 80 ...excuse me, sorry (giggles) he won lots of Emmys,

:41:32.:41:42.
:41:42.:41:43.

including one in 1973...(giggles) for a film that featured a police

:41:43.:41:47.

detective...It Is 8.10. We who present the programme genuinely

:41:47.:41:53.

believe it is about us, and funnily enough you are quickly disabused of

:41:53.:41:58.

that illusion, the listeners don't see it like that at all. One of the

:41:58.:42:02.

early questions I was always asked was "you must know Charlotte Green",

:42:02.:42:08.

followed by "what's she really like"? There is something about

:42:08.:42:11.

Charlotte that says Radio 4, if she says something is happening in the

:42:11.:42:17.

news you absolutely believe her. We save up anything with disgraceful

:42:17.:42:22.

innuendo and we give it to Charlotte. Her falling apart is one

:42:22.:42:27.

of my favourite things. Bring in the new year with a bang! And with

:42:27.:42:30.

that, goodbye. I'm goingry lance, and I hope to

:42:30.:42:34.

come back and do the occasional news quiz, which would be the icing

:42:34.:42:39.

on the cake. Do you fancy Newsnight? If you're offering!

:42:39.:42:44.

you have any broadcasting ambitions still unfulfilled, would you like

:42:44.:42:48.

to dub a Kung Fu movie, is there something? I have always wanted to

:42:48.:42:52.

read out the football results, ever since I was about six years old,

:42:52.:43:00.

that is something I would love to do. The fabulous Charlotte Green,

:43:00.:43:10.
:43:10.:43:19.

tomorrow morning's front pages. We Laura Robson on the right there.

:43:19.:43:29.
:43:29.:43:29.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 43 seconds

:43:29.:44:13.

Epic match at the Australian Open. We must make it clear there is no

:44:13.:44:19.

certainty about what happened yet at the gas plant. Finally in the

:44:19.:44:23.

Express they decided not to go in the Algeria story, they go with

:44:23.:44:33.
:44:33.:44:39.

It is not often we get the chance to have royalty on Newsnight.

:44:39.:44:44.

Tonight is different, as we have heard for some bizarre reason,

:44:44.:44:48.

Charlotte Green, radio royalty is being allowed to hang up her crown.

:44:48.:44:55.

We bow down at her feet, take it away Charlotte. You have been

:44:55.:45:04.

catching, Kirsty Wark, she has blanked me in the canteen. Should I

:45:04.:45:07.

know these people on the credits. The film about Big Data was

:45:07.:45:12.

produced by Ian Lacy, well, I say produced. Some pictures were

:45:12.:45:19.

brought to you, despite Mike Kacey, Bea Games, and Philip Clarkson. Is

:45:19.:45:23.

there much more of this?? The planning team were Sam and Zara,

:45:23.:45:29.

this stuff is planned? Unit manager was Rebecca Lavender, she handles

:45:29.:45:36.

the money, he need to see her. The programme producer was KavitaPura.

:45:37.:45:41.

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