10/06/2013 Newsnight


Mark Urban on Prism and internet privacy. Do children need dads? And from Lebanon, a report on the plans to rebuild post-war Syria. With Jeremy Paxman.

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No-one has broken the law, says the Foreign Secretary, and in America


they say no laws have been broken too.


Yet a massive eaves dropping operation has been laid bare. What


kind of legal structure requires a whistleblower before the worlds


knows what's happening. And we ask, "Do you know how much


you are disclosing each time you go into cyberspace"?


As more and more children grow up in a house with no man in it, are


fathers really necessary? As long as we keep saying it doesn't really


matter what kind of family you are in, and ignore the outcomes we are


doing children and lone parents themselves a disservice.


And in Syria, as Government forces take the offensive, what chance for


the people on the sidelines trying to influence the task of rebuilding


when the civil war is finally over. Many now would say the conflict can


only end either with a victory on the battlefield, or a settlement


imposed by outer powers, and activists like these are just


irrelevant. The Foreign Secretary was


"unambiguous", British intelligence has not tried to get around the law


by taking manufactures from United States' surveillance programmes


that it would not have been able to get authorisation for in this


country. He didn't give any details though, but how could he, we shall


have to take his word for it. What has been revealed about the extent


of American Government snooping has astonished some people millions and


millions of phone call and internet records have been looked at,


according to a young man who has gone public.


The legal and policy framework for surveillance is about as complex a


suggest as you could imagine. But Edward Snowden came to the view


that mass harvesting of communications constitutes an


unacceptable invasion of people's privacy. The NSA specifically


targets the communications of everyone, it digests them by


default. It collects it in its system and filters them and


analyses and it stores them for periods of time. Simply because


that is the easiest most efficient and most valuable way to achieve


these ends. But the passage of a few days since


the first revelations has also given us a clearer idea of the


official justification for the National Security Agency's


operations. That's especially true of gathering met at that data. The


who contacted whom for how long and where they were. Intelligence


professionals defend this as a vital tool. This kind of trawling


of massive data has to go on all the time any way, because that's


where the intelligence is. It is concealed within the data. But the


point about this is that, or they are looking for needles in


haystacks, in order to find that they have to be alooked to look at


the haystack. For decades phone companies and other service


providers have been required by law to keep what used to be called


"billing information". Met at that data, and to make that a-- metadata


and make it available to the Government. That is not the same


under other countries' laws. To intercept communications, the


content of a phone call, e-mail or an old fashioned letter requires a


specific warrant. It just just that the law makes met -- just that the


law makes metadata easier to record, looking at the content needs an


exponeings power. And storing all of this would be a mind-boggling


challenge. Even storing the metadata is a costly and complex


operation for the NSA. It has opened $2 billion centre in Utahh


to do that. Doing it on this scale poses many questions. The metadata


collection programme seems to be problematic. And the the


Governments and courts will have to look at this with a fresh pair of


eyes to see in the National Security Agency has been following


the rules. The UK doesn't do intelligence on anything like the


same level. It can rely on the NSA, of course, but even leaked figures


of 197 reports sent to GCHQ by that organisation suggest Britain is


doing things on a much smaller scale. That makes it easier to


regulate and for ministers to insist they are acting legally.


has been suggested that GCHQ uses our partnership with the United


States to get around UK law, obtaining information that they


cannot legally obtain in the United Kingdom. I wish to be absolutely


clear that this accusation is baseless. Any data obtained by us


from the United States involving UK nationals is subject to proper UK


statutory controls and safeguards. The US Government says also that


its requests for content from going google or AOL, under the project


code named Prism, are subject to legal warrants. For many in the US


Congress the key question is whether these operations involved


routine large-scale surveillance of US citizens. As for the rest of the


world well they are not quite so bothered about that. So if there


are to be changes to the law as a result of these disclosures it is


most likely to be in tightening up the rules for surveillance of US


citizens much but surveillance of the rest of the world is likely to


be carried on by the NSA on a massive scale.


We have we haven't had a leak about surveillance programmes of this


magnitude in some time. The story seems to have lags and the leaks


just keep coming. So it is my hope that Congress does take a look at


this, that they hold hearings and if the law has been broken that


people are held accountable for breaking the law.


As for the man who made this public, he said that he expects the data


empires and intelligence organisations that he has betrayed


will not forgive him and that he accepts that life as he knew it is


effectively over. This is something that's not our


place to decide. The public needs to decide whether these programmes


and policies are right or wrong. I'm willing to go on the record to


defend the authenticity of them and say I didn't change these, I didn't


modify the story, this is the truth, this is what's happening, you


should decide whether we need to be doing this.


Well now to discuss this we have Major General Jonathan Shaw, a


retired army general, until last year in charge of the Ministry of


Defence cyber security programme. And Richard Aldridge, who has


written a book on the US intelligence agency, GCHQ, he's


currently leading a research project into what the public knows


about the CIA. Were you surprised about the scale


of disclosures in the revelations? I wasn't surprised it happened, but


the sheer scale of it when I think about it doesn't surprise me. The


whole area is one of big data. Every corporation in the world is


struggling to cope with this massive data. And you need to take


a lot of data in if you are going to analyse it. Thinking about it,


it shouldn't have taken us by surprise at all. What do you think?


It shows us the intelligence agencies no longer own intelligence,


the people who own intelligence now are the supermarket, the banks and


the airlines. That is a problem because Government needs access to


that information. It is interesting that people are prepared to share


all sorts of bits of information about themselves with these


companies, but they are some how alarmed if the Government's keeping


track of them? A former senior GCHQ officer said there is something


strange about a keyboard, if you put a human being in front of a


keyboard and a screen they will do all sorts of weird things which


they won't normally do in ordinary life. There is a whole research


project there. We didn't know this programme existed, do you think we


should have known, General? Or the Americans perhaps? What should be


in the public dough nain and what shouldn't is the question. I'm


quite comfortable, but I suppose you could say I should be, that we


didn't know about it. I think we should be comfortable that it


exists. The real surprise would have been if there wasn't co-


operation between the QCHQ and the NSA. That would have been a


surprise. When you have a programme of this scale, much bigger even


than you knew, you say if you thought about it you would have


recognised it, but you can't possibly be regularly scrutinised


by due legal oversight, can it? Well you will have to wait for the


inquiry on that, I'm not quite sure how that was done. You will have to


wait to see on that. I don't know what the task mechanism is, I don't


know the detail, we will have to wait for that. That scale, millions


of phone records alone, vast numbers of internet pieces of


information, you would have to have somebody in a court just stamping,


stamping all day long in order to look at it? The record we were


hearing was the 190 reports. Those are the requests from this country?


So the American system, I'm not capable of talking about that at


all. Do you worry about the implications at the British end of


things? I worry about the connections between Britain and the


United States. The British system as shown is smaller and therefore


easier to regulate. The American system is much, much larger. They


not only harvest a lot of data but they keep a lot of that data.


Exactly as you have said, much more difficult to oversee all that stuff.


I strongly suspect that British politicians don't know everything


that the United States is doing. Does that matter? Yes, I think it


does. So many intelligence agencies around the world share intelligence


now. But the relationship between GCHQ and NSA is special. They


effectively work in certainly in some areas as effectively one


organisation. Do you believe the Foreign Secretary? Yes I do. I


think when he says that nothing has been done that's unlawful, that's


correct. The problem is the law is not very transparent in the UK, and


in the United States it is put into operation by secret courts. We


can't even read their judgments. So we're told it is lawful but we know


very little more than that. Let's talk about what should happen to


this whistleblower, Mr Snowden. What do you think should happen to


him General? I think if you serve your country, if you sign up and


work for people who you must have known who you are working for and


the sort of business you are in. He knew what the rules were and he


broke them, he should have the book thrown at him absolutely. He has


committed a legal crime. Whether he has committed a moral crime is an


entirely separate question. My own view is he should be pursued by the


Americans. He certainly thinks he should be. What do you think should


happen to him? I think it shows the way that privacy isies appearing


for everybody. Part of this issue - - privacy is disappearing for


everything. Privacy is also disappearing for corporations and


Government. It is difficult to do secret stuff because people will


blow the whistle. I don't think you are answering the question. What


penalty, what should befall this young man, has he done us all a


service for disclosing what has gone on, or should he be punished?


He says ethically I have done the right thing, but I have broken the


law and I expect to be punished. Thank you very much. The usual


argument used about why we don't need to worry about the state


snooping upon what we are up to on lon is if we have done nothing


questionable we have nothing to worry about.


Yet it is surprising how even the most innocent of forays into


cyberspace can disclose all sorts of things about you that you


weren't necessarily aware you were revealing. Tom Chatfield is a


digital and technology writer, we asked him to explain.


In the few decades since the birth of the web, we have moved from e-


mail to social networking to a gamit of on-line services. Scoring


more and more of our lives in the called "cloud". The amount of data


out there is growing at an exponential rate.


In a typical day last year people sent more than 144 billion e-mails.


Shared more than 684,000 items of content on Facebook alone. And


uploaded 72 hours of video to YouTube every single minute. 90% of


the world's data has been created in the last two years.


With so much data out there, and so much more coming every day, is it


realistic to expect to keep it under our own control.


The word "cloud" is deceptive when it comes to technology. It sounds


fluffy and weightless, but what it really describes is a bunker-like


room full of computers running physically the data owned by a


company and located in a particular country and subject to its


Government's laws and requests for data. Search centres can also be


the subject of digital assaults, although companies will try to keep


them safe. On top of this there is the fact that all the seemingly


trivial details we reveal about ourselves on-line every day can be


cross-referenced and co-related often to startling effect. A


database of trivial details is not a trivial database. I will go now


and do a little bit of self- googleing on-line and see what I


can snoop out. If I have a look on my Twitter profile, I can see I'm


here filming now. If I scroll down I can see a few days ago I was out


having a coffee near my house. I'm just going to pop in the details of


that common near my house and I can find the postcode for that. Armed


with that postcode I'm going to cross-reference the first half of


that with my own name and rather disturbingly it very quickly brings


up the registration details that have been scraped off my website


registration that will tell you my home address and my personal mobile


phone number as well as my e-mail. A quick glance on Facebook will


give you some details about who I'm married to. You can look at some


photos, you can find out something about my cats, if you are


interested in things like that. And glancing now at my public profile


in linkedin, that fills in all the university and education details


and most of the other stuff, as well as the feed pulling off all my


Twitter information. Now you are pretty much well on your way to


knowing far more about me than frankly I feel comfortable about


you getting in five minutes of tapping on a keyboard. According to


research published earlier this year, even details as trivial as


Facebook "likes" can be analysed to predict 80% accurately very private


details like ethnicity, political preference, religious beliefs and


sexuality. So with all the risks, why are people still so willing to


upload so much of their lives. Perhaps we have been niave, perhaps


web historians of the future will laugh at us and our reDell Lynx for


cease lesson line attention. It is not too late to change our ways. If


you want to protect yourself on- line, one of the joys of technology


is find out all the things you can do, using anonymous browsers or


virtual private networks or incrypting your files. Or you can


stop telling everywhere you are going, who you are seeing and what


you are doing, and shut up instead! Professor Richard Aldridge is still


with us, we are joined from San Francisco by the technology writer.


Do you think loss of privacy is the price we pay inevitably for using


technology? I think that is something that has been said by


President Obama as well. You have to weigh up the balance of whether


you want security and privacy. I would say that the whole idea of


the loss of privacy is something people have been talking about for


a very long time. I noticed back in 1970 Newsweek Magazine had a cover


core that said "The End of Privacy". Governments around the world are


struggling to keep up with the amount of data put out there. It is


difficult to reconcile whether there is an increase in the amount


of surveillance as compared to what there was 30 or 40 years ago.


you think that the, that our standards are changing, that older


people are obviously much less willing to share things than young


people who very often have disclosed everything that's


happened in their lives since they were early teenagers? Very much so.


I think much of the debate is about the trade-off between liberty and


security. But actually I would argue we have traded both liberty


and security for something which we might call convience, even shopping.


That's a cultural trend that we notice very much amongst the


younger demographic. You suggest it is notness low really an issue


then? I don't think it is quite so much an issue for the younger


generation. I think to some extent they have been out for a good night


out. It hasn't actually happened unless someone has instantly put


167 photographs on Facebook. your notions of privacy the same of


that of your parents' generation say? I think you are absolutely


right what you were discussing earlier, there is a very big


generational shift in attitudes towards privacy. I think there is a


bit of a myth around this idea that young people don't value privacy. I


think they do. I think they just view the Internet in a very


different way to older generations, with less paranoia and less of a


deferential view towards the Internet. With more of a sense of


control of the way they share information. Where as perhaps older


generations may primarily rely on Facebook as a social networking


tool, more and more young people are actually veering towards many


different types of social networks like Instagramfor mobile, Snapchat,


and Whasup. Snapshot is sharing photographs, the person sees it and


it is deleted after ten seconds. There is a different aim for


content that the younger generation has.


Do you think consumer behaviour will change after this consumer


revelationry episode? I don't think so, people generally want convience,


there is this saying that if the service is free you become the


product. This is what we have seen with Facebook, what we have seen


with very popular mobile services like Waves, the navigation map. If


we have free services we will have ads targeted to us. There are big


companies in Silicon Valley who are very good at targeting the data out


there and targeting us with advertising. That is part and


parcel technology and using services that are convenient for us.


The word "paranoia" was used earlier, an unfounded fear, this


isn't an unfounded fear is it? it isn't. The future is coming fast,


in ten years time anything we buy in a shop that costs more than �20


will have an IP address, a kettle, a toaster, a handbag. Those things


will gather data all the time. We will have almost continuous


surveillance. Certainly in urban areas. Yes everything that happens


will be recorded all the time. That will be convenient and people will


sign up to it. And maybe people won't worry too much about it?


Absolutely. It will be a very different world. Is there any way


to avoid it? You could throw away your mobile phone and your laptop


and your credit cards, but life would be very inconvenient. If you


are on-line is there any way to avoid people snooping and knowing


about you? You can certainly just avoid all these different social


networks that are out there. I would a add, with the proliferation


of so many different types of networks that new generations are


using. It is not even just Facebook or the carrier companies any more,


AT&T or Vodaphone, people are now calling through Skype. I know Skype


was one of the programmes that was part of the Prism project, but


there are many, many more adviceover Internet Protocol


services people use for free calls and messages. How is any one agency


going to keep track of that huge proliferation of information with


only more services coming on board and offering those same kinds of


communication tools. So widespread publicity or disclosure will mean


that it is impossible for people to be snooping on you, you think?


just think it will become you know, as the channels of communication


increase it becomes ever more difficult for any one agency to


track and make sense of all that data. So they outsource to these


intelligence companies like Palenteer, and the company that the


whistleblower came from, who have very smart code-crackers and people


who create all georhythms to sieve through the data. It is the


constant sifting through the data and making sense of it. It is no


easy task for any Government to do that. Have we passed the high water


mark of this type of disclosure? think it is just beginning. That is


partly because of the technology itself. If we look at wicky leeks,


it is easier -- Wikileaks, it is easier to bring out this


information. They are not doing this to disclose to tech companies


and the like? It has only just begun, it is the merchants of


shopping and people like shopping. Great numbers of children are


growing up without an adult male in their lives. A report by a right-


leaning think-tank claimed today that some parts of England and


Wales have become man-deserts, there isn't even a single male


teacher in a quarter of primary schools, for example. Does it


matter though? Is it anyone else's business outside the families


concerned? The group behind the report claims it is and costs the


country billions a year. How come? Why does it matter if these


children have a male role model in their lives? What does it mean for


their development? For society at large? According to the Centre for


Social Justice report one million children have no meaningful contact


with their father. They say that family breakdown can cause


everything from educational failure to worklessness, crime, debt and


poverty. Fixing that, they claim, costs the taxpayer �46 billion a


year. The sense that fathers don't matter, that family structure


doesn't matter and that just being on your own with children you can


do just as well. If only it were true. It takes two people to bring


a child into the world, and unsurprisingly if at all possible


children tend to do best when there are two parents throughout their


childhood. In this North London neighbourhood, they have the


fourth-highest number of single mother households in all of England


and Wales. Yet parents we spoke to at this local primary school were


convinced that children need a father figure. I just think it is a


good balance to have both parents. Some people are fortunate, some


unfortunate, that is my personal opinion. I just think it helps the


child's upbringing and development. Many of those we spoke to struggled


to explain why a father's role is different from that of a mother's.


The fact that there is two around is more important than the fact I'm


male. I think that's the thing. It is probably not my sex but the fact


that there is two of us. This part of London could well be what the


Centre for Social Justice calls a "man desert". Not just because of


the high number of single mother households, but because so few of


the teachers at this school are men. The staff wish there were more.


They bring in different social skills to women, that plays a huge


role in having male teachers in schools. What do you mean by social


skills, what do they bring to the equation? Etiquette and how they


treat girls, for example. How they have manners and respect towards


each other. They see a staff, men and women liaising with each other,


working together, they might not necessarily see that at home.


wards with the highest percentages of single mother households are


found in Birmingham, Liverpool, the whirl, and King's Cross in London.


Jordan's father was not involved in his upbringing, he was raised by


his mother, grandmother and an uncle. I think yes there is no


doubt about it having a father there it completes the package


really. If a father was there it wouldn't necessarily add anything


to it significantly, it wouldn't give really an advantage, maybe a


financial advantage you have two parents you can go dad get me this,


and mum would disagree. But in terms of that I think yes there is


an advantage but not a major one. It is not really a game-changer.


Jordan isn't alone in any thinking there are many -- in thinking there


are many factors that determine a child's upbringing and the presence


of a father isn't the most important. All the demographics


show what matters for children's life chances is poverty first and


foremost and the level of conflict in a family. Looking at what is


going on within the family rather than a family structure. We know


poverty is rising. The Institute for Fiscal studios is predicting


child poverty will rise to a million children between 2010-2020.


We need to focus there. The Centre for Social Justice says that


politicians have responded feeblely to what it call Britain's family


breakdown emergency. It is the Government's business to meddle


into family life, they say, because the country can't afford for them


not to. Shaun Bailey is here, the


Government community and social engagment representative who was


brought up in a single parent home. And we have our other guest who


writes about her experiences as a single parent, raising her daughter


herself. What was the experience of having


an absence of a father and male figure? Male figures are very


important for boys and their behaviour, there is issues around


violence and how you conduct yourself. It is hard to take those


lessons from your mother because she doesn't have that experience.


We have a proliferation of gang and anti-social behaviour, a male


figure has a different response mechanism and different emotional


development path that you lead a child down when talking about those


issues. For me in particular I was lucky in the army cadets I had male


role models different to the boys on my street that helped me


regulate my own behaviour. Why that regulation is important is it


determines how well you do at school and learning the social


skills that enable you to be successful. Without that you are


sunk before the start. You have a daughter. Do you think she's


deprived by not having a father figure around? Absolutely not. I


think there are two issues there. The idea that a family structure


has to include two parents of a different gender. I think family


structure is very important to children but there is no kind of


rule as to what genders should be involved. I don't think the


addition of a male gender role model would have made any


significant difference to the way my daughter is being brought up. I


think also there is the idea that a male role model for a child has to


be their father. As a society and family and as a community we can


introduce lots of male role models into children's lives. It doesn't


necessarily have to be their father and it won't be available to all


children. Would you like to explain to Sally what it is that


specifically a male figure in these sorts of situations brings that


isn't going to be brought by a woman? Most girls, ladies have


never had a fight, excuse me, they have never been threatened in the


same way that boys threaten each other. There is no doubt that there


is a gender difference between how boys and girls communicate. It is


nice to have someone lead you through that. More importantly this


isn't so much a discussion only about family structure, you are


right one of the major role models in my life are uncles, I had two


uncles who led me through life. That is great. There is a point


where there is a wider implication, this will definitely touch on


poverty, et cetera. My two uncles have children of their own, they


couldn't support my mother once they started their own families. If


you want to talk about family structure male role model, one of


the most important thing is the direct correlation with poverty. If


you want to bring children out of poverty, which is the single


biggest determinate of your future, to add a second parent and male


role model is vitally important. You are nodding? There is a


distinction between correlation and causation. I think certainly


bringing working mums out of poverty is really important. And as


a working mum it can be incredibly hard to find high-quality, flexible


childcare, to find flexible work opportunities and access education


and training when you are solely responsible for a child. Arguing


that the solution to poverty is for women to be in relationships with a


husband or partner of the opposite gender slightly misses the point.


We need to look at offering women greater opportunities to support


their families if they do find themselves in a single parent


situation. The thing I would add to that though, no Government is in


the business or can be in the business of keeping people together.


That's just simply not going to happen. What you could do, the


policy instrument here is you could make it a lot harder for you to


financially separate yourself from your children. If I ran the


universe any children you brought into the world, the first port of


call for resources for those children would be you, not the


Government. What we are building here, and what the CSJ are talking


about is how we are trying to wedge our whole society inbetween into


that role. What we should be really saying to fathers is you stay at


least financially, that is beyond discussion and there is no doubt in


my mind that a male role model has a significant role to play. Why I


concentrate on fathers is because they have a vested interest and a


moral duty to stay involved with any children they father. I think


you are confusing the father's duty to provide for their children, you


can talk about a moral duty, in practice and I can tell you as a


single mother who has been through the system, if a father doesn't


want to contribute to their child financially that will not happen.


There are no current policies in place to make that happen if there


is an unwilling parent. You are talking about role models. What the


report from the Centre for Social Justice is talking about is if you


are a single mother then the outcome for your child is


necessarily worse because you are a single mother. I think actually we


need to be looking at completely different issues. This isn't a


debate about two-parent families versus single-parent families. It


is a fact if you are a single parent, woman or man the outcomes


for your children are sttically worse, it will be tougher for you.


-- Statistic ically worse for you. Let's look at what causes the


problems. Children from two-parent families statistically work out


better. We are not just talking about that. We are talking about


where does the burden lie and where do you ask people to step up. The


emotional development of your children is definitely supported by


having a role model and a man. my perspective as a single mum and


talking to other mums I know. It is great if you have male role models


within the family. I'm lucky my daughter has a good relationship


with her dad, she has uncles, cousins, lots of men in her life.


But I think that broader, as a society, we need to look at getting


more men involved. Not every single mum has that opportunity, not every


single mum has brothers or a good relationship with her ex. It may


not be helpful to have that involvement. It is policy in its


very nature is general. You have to try to make things as good as you


can generally. Part of that is about the message you send. If you


complain about deathbeat dads they will talk about their deadbeat dad,


if you break that cycle you need to say to people through policy. There


is no policy to make people to pay up. If I ran the universe, believe


me there would be. I would take the money, it wouldn't be a debate. I


would take the money and give it to the chiel. I think that send a


message. -- the child. I think that send a message. If you were running


the universe would you have more men in primary schools for example?


Those things become more complicated. Yes it would be nice


to do that, but we have a legal thing that you can't discriminate.


Talking to the teaching profession. That discrimination happens all the


time. I know talking to dad bloggers, in our community, that


they are not welcome. We certainly had a dad blogger that I spoke to


this week on Twitter, who said he had volunteered to help with an


activity at his daughter's school and was told that it wasn't


appropriate because he's a man. And the parents wouldn't feel


comfortable. There is broader issues about welcoming more men


into becoming involved with children. And let's not have the


suspicious viewpoint of why does a man want to work with children and


support children. I think actually that may show that this issue of


the outcomes of children of single mothers being worse is not to do


with the lack of male role models, it is to do with the lack of


support for single women raising children. There is some truth in


that but I add to it. You say it is a correlation between being a


single parent and poor financial outcomes and poverty, it is a


direct result of that. I don't think there is sufficient evidence


to say that. One of the ways of getting around that would be to


make sure that the father involved was financially connected to that


child forever. I would take that stance. I will cut you off there,


thank you both very much. There are reports tonight that the Syrian


Government is readying itself for an attack on rebel held parts of


Aleppo in the north of the country. The regime's resurgence is said to


have much to do with support from Iran and Russia, while the rebels


are funded by states in the gulf. What began as an internal uprising


is turning into a proxy war between outside powers. Are the views of


ordinary Syrians being forgotten in the process. Some within the


country reject both the ray genome and the armed rebels and fear the


intensification of the war will destroy any future hope of


democracy in the country whoever wins.


It is a short but misty road that winds down through Lebanon through


Syria. An hour away across the border a civil war is raging. But


here on Mount Lebanon, an old hill resort, offers security and calm


for a group of Syrians from many backgrounds, who have gathered to


talk about ending the conflict. We can only show a few of them,


some think their discussions are too sensitive to be filmed. There


are activists from Government and rebel-held areas and many religious


sects, opposition supporters and Government loyalists. They haven't


been brought together by outside powers, as diplomats are trying to


do at Geneva. They have organised this meeting themselves. Above all,


what they want is a Syrian solution to a Syrian crisis. We don't need


any help. We go in this revolution, at 15th of March 2011 alone. We


will continue alone. We will get our freedom and build our


democratic state alone. We don't need any help from anybody. Just we


have to stop the war now and to build a new state.


They are discussing many scenarios, but they are agreed that Syrians


shouldn't become pawns in other countries' games.


Extraordinarily when Syria appears to have descended into a vortex of


death and destruction, with outside powers competing to arm opposite


sides, activists like this believe there is still enough political


space, within their country, for a home-grown solution. The Syrians to


persuade one another to stop fighting. This man was a law


student until the law forced him to abandon his studies. He was


somewhere in the crowd in this anti-Government demonstration in


the spring of 2011 when Syrians like him still hoped for a peaceful


revolution. But later instead of taking up arms as some of his


friends did, he began organising workshops to bring citizens


together. One a month ago included a fighter from the Shabiha, the


pro-Assad militia, blamed for many atrocities. He came to the workshop,


he just listened and he was active in the workshop. The second day he


changed his mind and there is many, many exercises in this workshop. He


has changed in it completely. After the workshop he just said that he


will, through his weapon, he don't want -- I want to throw my weapon,


I don't want my weapon any more. The war won't be stopped by a few


individual changes of heart. But grass roots activists have brokered


local ceasefires. Above all they are trying to keep institutions


running amid the chaos and to prevent society breaking up.


They are mixed schools, boys and girls together?


But social activists run big risks. This young graduate from Aleppo


dare not show her face on television. She moves back and


forth from her home in a Government-held area. Braving a


sniper's alley where people are shot every day. She has helped open


schools for children who have had no education since the fighting


began on the other side, schools that have to be protected from


Government bombardment. TRANSLATION: We choose buildings


away from the frontline, surrounded by higher buildings that shells


can't reach. We don't use existing school buildings, we find other


buildings and put desks in the basements. We block the roads


leading to them and sandbag them. 1,000 children study at the new


schools, some as young as these and some old enough to join the


militias. TRANSLATION: Some children are whipped up with


violent ideas and give up lessons. Our schools attract some children


who would otherwise lose some of their chood childhood. This


activist from the Turkish border is describing how she and other


volunteers successfully took over the administration of her mixed


Arab-Kurdish-Christian-Muslim town after Government forces withdrew.


But things went wrong when rebel militias arrived. TRANSLATION:


the revolution started women played a big role. For example we found


food and shelter for internal refugees, we helped protect


people's rights and freedoms. When armed groups arrived it led to


divisions in society. And everything collapsed. This


participant has heard that Islamist militia wanted to stone women for


adultery. She wants to know how civil society responded? But what


can civil society do against guns? The aim here is to try to keep


alive the spirit of the early days of the Syrian revolution. But


perhaps that is just too idealistic. Many would say now the conflict can


only end with a victory on the battlefield, or with a settlement


imposed by outside powers. And that activists like these are just


irrelevant. We are relevant, we are the Syrians. This is Syria, it is


all about Syria. It is our will, afterall. But no-one is listening


to you, you have no power or leverage? The fight be will stop.


The fighting appears to be intensifying? Yes, but every war


ends eventually. When it ends then the real players will appear. The


players who are able to act in the society and to lead the society.


They are not going to be necessarily the warlords.


Today is the activists press conference. There were signs from


the UN that one of their representatives may get invited to


Geneva, if the peace talks go ahead. But the west's dealing mainly with


the exiled politicians of the Syrian National Congress. And


Britain and France are considering arming the rebels if talks fail.


If they want to arm the Syrian rebels, did they ask the Syrian


people? I don't think the people who have access to Mr Cameron are


necessarily the people like you met here in this meeting. Most of the


Syrians I know, they don't want their children to be killed in the


civil war. Mohammed, like others who reject


both the regime and the armed rebels has been intimidated by both


sides. But he thinks only a third way will produce a country he can


live in afterwards. Everyone will be living in a ghetto


or a small camp, we want to have a modern society now. We want to


build a stable society but we can't on the basis of such a split


society. We are trying to preserve the society from collapsing.


The activists relaxing after the workshops in their Lebanese


hideaway have seen death all around them. They may be idealists, but


they are not niave. They are thinking further ahead than the end


of the war. They know a victory over a broken society is no victory


at all. Workshops and democracy may seem a


luxury now, but no-one will think that afterwards.


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 85 seconds


Hello there. Most parts of the UK have seen very little rain over the


past week. But the dry spell is coming to an end. Rain arriving in


the west overnight. Spreading slowly eastwards during the course


of Tuesday, a very different day across Northern Ireland after some


very warm sunshine of late. A wet morning, maybe a touch brighter in


the afternoon. The rain also spreading its way across most of


Scotland. Perhaps not reaching the far north-east. Here we should hang


on to some sunshine. The bulk of Scotland and northern England a


grey and damp day. The rain not particularly heavy. Iran many parts


of eastern England will get away with a spit of drizzley rain.


Brighter skies in the east until later on. A dull and damp start in


the west Midland, good parts of Wales will brighten up nice low. A


wet morning but the afternoon bringing sunshine. Also a bit of


warmth. Temperatures climbing to 18, Quite a bit of uncertainty about


Wednesday's forecast. We are reasonably confident there will be


a weather system across parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland,


Mark Urban on Prism and internet privacy. Do children need dads? And from Lebanon, a report on the plans to rebuild post-war Syria.

Includes interview footage of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, courtesy of 'The Guardian', Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras.