30/07/2013 Newsnight


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines. With Gavin Esler.

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storm after Newsnight investigated abuse on Twitter last night, there


has been an arrest of a 25-year-old man from South Shields. We will


have the latest. Having hidden from the press for so long, we will hear


from Twitter's head of trust and safety from California. We will


speak to Stella Cerasy an MP subject to the most vile abuse


herself and a Twitter enthusiast, Toby Young, who says in most cases


the trolls should be ignored. The biggest breach of classified


information in America in history, Bradley Manning handed out secret


information of over 700 classified files. He was found not guilty of


aiding the enemy, but as he faces the rest of his life in prison, is


he a hero or martyr. We will hear from whistleblowerer Adniel


Ellsberg. Does this look deslate to you,


there is a fracas about fracking after an MP from the Deep South


offered his view about the north- east. There are large uninhabited


and desolate areas in the north- east where there is plenty of move


for fracking. The Brazilian musician and former Culture


Minister, Gilberto Gil, on whether his country's great dream of


progress and prosperity has begun to come apart. Good evening,


following Newsnight's investigation last night of rape threats and


other abuse on Twitter, there has been an arrest of a 25-year-old man


from South Shields. We tracked down an alleged Twitter troll to an


address in the area. The rape threats against Caroline Criado-


Perez are just part of the many obscene abusive and sometimes vile


lent tweets directed at some women in public life by abusers. We will


hear from another one of their targets, the Labour MP, Stella


Cerasy in a moment. After avoiding interviews for the past few days we


will also hear from a Twitter executive from California. First,


Paul Mason on this evening's developments. What has been


happening? Over the weekend it took me and another journalist about 12


hours over two days to assemble the evidence that linked one of the


Twitter accounts that had threatened to rape the two women


involved and an internet connection in South Shields in the north-east.


So it took quite a long time to do that, the evidence was not straight


forward, but we thought compelling. I have spent the afternoon


conveying that evidence and explaining it to Northumbria Police,


and tonight, as a result of Newsnight's investigation a 25-


year-old man in South Shields, as you say, has been arrested on


suspicion of harassment as part of the Met's investigation into the


attacks on the two women. That case is subdued now and nothing more can


be said about it. Secondly that hasn't stopped abuse, another MP


has received a direct rape and murder threat, from the same person


who was playing cat and mouse, it looks like, last night with the


police, saying come on close me down. It shows how hard it is both


for Twitter and for the police to even trace somebody like that.


Given how hard it was for untrained police people to get their heads


around what it is that links one account with another. Now in the


course of doing this, it is fairly clear the police are stretched, the


detectives who are having to pick up these cases in different parts


of Britain are not necessarily the ones who have been trained to do


the usual stuff, the stuff aimed at child abusers and porn. It is not


necessarily those people who have to pick this up. It can be quite


hard for the resources to be assembled. I think that's why the


police keep emphasising, they would like Twitter to sort it out.


spent the day almost on the trail of a technological solution, as we


will see it is not that easy but there are bossablities, in the


process we had to talk to some of the called "trolls" who do this. We


have expunged all offensive and swearing. We have had to use some


of the bad language because that is the language these people speak in.


Since high-profile British women got hit with rape threats on


Twitter, many of us have seen our timelines filled with shocking


abuse and imagery, prompting a very practical question. Just what do


you do if your internet timeline on social media gets suddenly swamped


with people threatening rape or using extreme imagery of sexual


violence, and who are they? I have been talking to the trolls, to


people who have studied them and to those trying to come up with a


technical solution. Quinn Norton is a US journalist who has studied the


trolls and been harassed by them. She thinks demands by Twitter to


suspend the accounts won't be enough. It is easy with a basic


understanding of programming to autogenerate tonnes of accounts,


endlessly, and there isn't really a good way of stopping them. There is


so many tools of getting around all the ways to stop. That the best


thing to do is let them have their account and to block that account


so that you don't see it. Because if you remove that account they are


motivated to come back 10,000 fold. When I showed her some of the


abusers on my timeline, though we work on different continents, she


recognised two immediately as part of a hardcore that had harassed her,


prompting the question why not ban them? The social problem is men are


raised to hate women. And technology is not going to fix that,


what is what will fix that is a societal conversation about why


that is and why it shouldn't be. the I was contacted by one of the


people involved in directing hardcore rape jokes at women. I had


But there are technical solution, blogger Rebecca Watson had a bad


experience at a conference two years ago. 4.00 am I said I had


enough guys and I'm going to bed. I walked to the elevator and a man


got on with me and said don't take this the wrong way but I find you


very interesting and I would like to talk more, would you like to


come to my hotel room for coffee. Just a word to the wise here, guys,


don't do that. For saying this she was deluged with abuse on Twitter,


in response her supporters set up a programme that monitors and blocks


a shared list of abusers, and the man who wrote it talked me through


the installation. I will just block the super slimey, the Washington


Post. The block works by blocking a list of offenders that is


constantly updated by a community, it uses Twitter's own technology,


that prompts another question. Why don't Twitter implement what you


have done as part of Twitter? question. They certainly could do


easily, they have shared lists for following people, they could easily


have the ability that people who can create shared lists for


blocking people that would be possible. Why don't they?They are


so changing their platform, as an IT person I understand why, in


terms of keeping stability and the cost of doing that. They have to be


very careful they maintain the service. Those who have been around


a long time remember when the whole internet was predominantly male,


and there are some social media sites now openly struggling to be


representative. If you look at other on-line communities, Redet


that is predominant low young white males, there is no marginalised


groups left there. There is a considerable lack of women and


people of colour. Why?These voices don't get heard. Why?I guess and I


will get completely flaipltd now, there is racist abuse there,


homophobia, mysogynistic abuse there. Why as a woman would you


want to go there to get demeaned and put down for being a woman.


Twitter, slow to act in the crisis, there is an existential question,


it is nothing to do with the blocking mechanism, it is simply


are they prepared to see their part of cyberspace become essentially


white and male? For a company set to take a billion dollars next year,


driven by advertising, that is quite a question.


Del Harvey is head of Twitter's trust and safety, I spoke to her


from California before we came on air. The British politician, Stella


Cerasy, has been repeatedly told on Twitter that she will be raped, why


have you done so very little about it? To back up and give you a


little bit of context about who I am and why I'm the person here


talking to you, along with what's actually so far in this, I'm Del


Harvey, I head up the Trust and Safety Department at Twitter, the


department to handle users' safety and the like. I have been at


Twitter for five years. The CV is very interesting can we move on,


why have you done so very little about the threats of rape to a


British Labour politician? I think that there is perhaps a Misper


exception of how we responded. When we were made aware of the issue


over the weekend we had reached out privately to the parties involved,


we have been talking with them and with law enforcement. We have been


engaged in active dialogue since this weekend and we have been


continuing that dialogue. feminist campaigner, Caroline


Criado-Perez told me last night that when she complained about rape


threats she was blocked by one of your managers. Why would you do


that? I can't speak to the details of why he would do that, or what


that would mean for him or what that situation was but I can say


that's...Is It acceptable in Twitter when someone complains


about rape threats for a Twitter executive to block them, is that


acceptable to you? I would much rather they tell the person how to


report the threat. You going to discipline this guy? He's not in my


department, I know we are certainly talking about what happened and why


we, quite frankly, didn't provide him with the guidance on what he


should do in a situation like that. The thing is, I'm talking to you


about rape threats to women and you're talking corporate jiberish?


I'm certainly not trying to. The fact of the matter is we do work


with law enforcement on issues like these, these sorts of threats are


against the rules. We suspend accounts when they are reported to


us, we are working to make it easier to report those accounts. We


think this is really important. I have spent the majority of my


career working on issues tied to this. Before Twitter I worked with


domestic violence victims and rape victims, along with law enforcement


on the on-line abuse cases, this is something that is so important to


us and we care about getting right. If it is so important why are you


so slow, why do the women involved say the response is inadequate, why


does shadow Home Secretary here say it is inadequate, why is it so


inadequate? Part of the challenge is we have a really wide variety I


have a bues cases on Twitter. From everything from somebody following


someone who they want to see their tweet to someone trying to raise


attention to human rights issues, and these sort of changes around


how we can make it easier for people to report abuse, we also


have to make sure we are building in protections to make sure people


aren't being silenced at the same time. How many people do you employ


to sort out these very serious threats of sexual violence towards


women? There is actually dozens of people in the Trust and Safety Team,


which is worth rembering that Twitter is a case with the company


got outleapt a bit by the brand and the use of it. The use of Twitter,


the countries it is used in, the way it took off like a rocket ship


and we are trying to make sure we have everything right that we need


to make sure people feel safe on that rocket ship, so to speak.


Caroline Criado-Perez said that she hopes what happened to her and to


other women here will be a wake-up call to you, I'm just trying to


figure out where the wake up is happening. How are you waking up?


We have a number of things that we had in development, for example we


had launched about three weeks ago the ability to report a tweet from


the actual tweet itself on IOS and mobile. This was really underscored


to us the need to really push to get that out to all parts of the


platform. Because it is really clear that people aren't aware that


we do have rules. It is not OK to harass people, it is not OK to


threaten them with violence. said you have got dozenss of people


working on this, there are 400 million tweets every day, surely it


can't be enough? That is part of the reason that users have to


report to us as well. That is actually an issue that happens on


any platform at scale. Users have to say this is what happened this


is not OK. It would be great to prevent abuse before it starts. We


have automatic systems that look for spam and take action. But there


is always the challenge of context that you can't always get in 140


characters, which is why we need users to report. A number of


British MPs have a lot of questions they would like to put to Twitter,


will you put up perhaps yourself or someone senior from Twitter to come


to the United Kingdom and discuss this formally with British Members


of Parliament? I haven't heard personally about the request, but


we're absolutely open for discussion. This is an area that


we're already working with law enforcement, we welcome feedback in


terms of areas where they have heard complaints or criticisms. It


is really genuinely important to me that we get this right. I can't


really underscore that enough. I don't want people to think that we


don't take it seriously. Just a final thought, one Conservative


woman MP, Claire Perry said she thought about quitting Twitter over


this, a number of women have suggested that is a route they


considered too. Do you worry that the whole future of Twitter here is


in the balance in the sense that you might become just a place where


angry men sound off about women and women just don't want to know


Twitter? Honestly the biggest thing I worry about is users think we


don't care no matter what the abuse they are experiencing or the issue


they have. Whether it is this or 100 other things, I want people to


understand that we welcome their feedback and guidance on what they


are feeling and how we can make it better for them.


Thank you very much for joining us, thank you.


Stella Cerasy is here, a Labour MP who has been a target of some of


the vile threats. And Toby Young, a Twitter enthusiast who has argued


blocking and ignoring the abusers is the way forward. What did you


make of what you heard there about Twitter saying they are trying to


do their best? It is frustrating for those affected that we are


hearing different stories from the police and Twitter. It is not the


platform itself making people persistently doing this, I'm still


receiving rape and death threats today, it is people who are idiots


and people who may well be escalating in their violence and


aggression towards women. I need to see Twitter working with the law


enforcement agencies when you have a serious threat of violence and


aggression towards somebody, the way I have experienced, and


Caroline and now several members in parliament are experiencing.


you encouraged by what you heard from Del Harvey? I was encouraged


last night hearing from her but that was four days after, and we


were blocked by staff. She has admitted offline she felt it wasn't


got right, and my concern is getting it right in the UK, this is


about violence against women and this new platform against with this


old crime. What about Twitter and the way they are trying to respond


to it, it is very difficult for them, she made that quite clear?


Twitter's defence at least they have a Trust and Safety Division,


manned by human beings. The way Facebook deals with abuse is


entirely computerised, if a user is flagged up enough as abusive, there


is a mathematical sum that bans them. People can abuse the process


by flagging up people who they politically disagree with and get


them off. If they are getting somewhere it is very, very slow?


That is partly because they are so overwhelmed by reports of abuse.


Twitter is used by tens of hundreds of millions people around the world,


there are lots and lots of trolls out there. There must be reports of


I have a bows that Twitter is being deluged with. Let's talk about the


way you both deal with this, you deal with it, you have complained,


but you also retweet some of the tweets, you are followed by a lot


of people, 32,000 people, some of these rather sad cases are not


followed by anybody, however offensive it is you are giving them


a megaphone aren't you? I use a range of ways to deal with people


who behave in offensive and abusive ways on Twitter, sometimes I will


send them pictures of kittens because that is the level of debate


they deserve. As Toby knows when he has crossed a line I will retweet


issues and say I will challenge and call you out and say is this


acceptable behaviour. This is illegal, if someone walked up in


the street and someone said they would rape me, as people have on


Twitter over the last few days, I would dial 999. We mustn't think


because it happens on-line it is less serious. 50% of stalking cases


involve both own and off line harassment. These people are not


letting go, they need to understand neither are we in treating it


seriously. You are saying in most cases you can ignore it? I don't


have a problem at all with Stella reporting people who threaten her


with violence to the police, and I'm not surprised she's cross that


Twitter are not doing more to co- operate with the British police to


pursue those people. That is totally understandable. What I'm


nervous about is something Stella said to me earlier which is she had


a conversation with a woman you just interviewed in which she


persuaded her to include the word "harassment" in Twitter's abuse


policy, therefore hence forth anyone guilty of harassment will be


banned from Twitter. That is a vague and elastic term and open to


abuse. The worrying thing about Twitter responding to a complaint


by a British politician, in a way which is likely to lead to more


sensorous behaviour on Twitter, what do they do if a Chinese


politician makes a complaint and wants a change of policy. Saying it


is a bit of a wild west and even blocking it doesn't make it go


away? It was about particular types of harassment, you can't have it


both ways, you can't say they have a manned system to look at the


cases so they have a clarity about what harassment is, and then say


they shouldn't deal with harassment. I talk about things under the


protection of harassment act illegal in this country, they have


to have a process in dealing with people get a warning, that is fair,


isn't it Toby? Twitter should definitely be held to account for


not enforcing its own abuse policy. I read the policy on the way here,


it includes not allowing local users to break local laws, you are


perfectly right to say they should co-operate with the police if you


want people to be prosecuted for breaking harassment laws, what I


don't want Twitter to do to go beyond enforcing its existing


policies and introduce more censorous policies which would lead


to a cleaned up place which isn't what we know and love. Do you agree


it is not a technical problem but the way some men behave and our


society, and you won't fix that by going to Twitter? We have to call


it out and having a process that says if you continue to behave in


this way you will face consequences. We need police at a local and


national level understand the risks coming from on-line behaviour and


how it manifests offline. This is about taking violence against women


seriously, Toby I don't think you understand here, nobody is talking


stopping you making comments about MPs tits, I would hope you would


stop on your own. We are talking about the right to contact people


who say offensive and abusive things and there is no recourse for


this, Twitter doesn't have a clear line about this and they need to


get one. You are saying Twitter needs to jump on anybody being


offensive and abusive about women, but ignore people being offensive


and abusive towards men. When did I say that. You want to enlist


Twitter in your campaign to re- educate men and make them less


sexist. Actually I said I would really hope you would get to the


21st century and stop tweeting about women's tits in parliament,


that is what I said, I also said it is good that Twitter has a proposal


where people will look at reports of abuse. What I asked Twitter to


do on Monday night was give data and understanding about reports


they get so we understand the level of difficulties they are dealing


with. The problem you are not facing up to if you do persuade


Twitter, if you do enlist Twitter in this political cause of yours,


it will be harder for Twitter to resist when they are called up and


brow beaten by Chinese politicians or Saudi politicians who try to


enlist them in their political cause. You said it is about local


laws, harassment is illegal, we have strengthened the laws about


stalking. You are rather inconsistent, you want to defend it


as a no man's land what everybody says goes or it is not accountable,


which is it. If you include the word "harass" in the abuse policy,


which you said you persuaded them to do, after a two-hour


conversation, that they will go beyond simply asking local users


toe abide. There is a legal definition, you know that don't you.


It is already in Twitter the's abuse policy to stop people abusing


local laws, why do they need to add the word "harass", it sounds like


you want them to go beyond it and enlist it in a political campaign.


It could lead in not in all cases to be banned but accounts suspended.


I'm concerned about it takes me as a British MP to have this change.


We haven't got more than 140 characters left. Did you, by any


chance tweet about women's tits in parliament? It wasn't my proudest


moment, I asked who a particular MP, who one couldn't see the head of


but sitting behind Ed Miliband wearing a low-cut dress, I


committed the sin of noticing it, that constitutes harassment in some


people's views. You can Israel read more of Paul


Mason's thoughts and whether there is a tech solution to trolling and


what steps he has himself taken on his blog. Still to come: There are


large and Ince habited and desolate areas in -- and uninhabited and


desolate areas in parts of the north-east where there is plenty of


room for fracking. Whoops! Now the case against Bradley Manning was


simple, he made public through WikiLeaks the biggest trove of


classified information ever, in defiance of his military oath and


the law. He as, as the prosecution said, a traiter. The case for him


is the files did not put US security at risk but did embarrass


the Government. He was a young, niave, good-intentioned sold yes, a


whistleblower not a traitor. We will examine both sides of the


argument. What is not in doubt is a court has found him guilty of most


of the charges against him though not the most serious. He can expect


to spend the rest of his life behind bars. This footage was never


meant to be seen by you or me, it is from Baghdad 2007 when a US air


crew killed a dozen people, including two journalists. Come on


fire. It came to light in the biggest leak of classified


information in US history, including almost half a million


pages of war reports from Iraq and Afghanistan.-And-a-quarter of a


million state department cables. -- and 250,000 state department cables.


We learned in 2009 America's ambassador in Kabul described the


Afghan President as a "paranoid and weak individual", that the US


planned to spy on UK secretary- general, Ban Ki-Moon, and that logs


from the Iraq War suggested 15,000 more civilian deaths than the US


Government had acknowledged. Prosecutors and many of his


countrymen called the young soldier, Bradley Manning, a traitor. His


supporters said he was a niave but well-intentioned wibble. He himself


admitted ten -- whistleblower, he himself admitted to ten of the


charges against him, and said he wanted to start a true debate


against war and foreign policy. Today at a military base 25-year-


old Manning gave no reaction as the verdicts were read out by the


military judge. Manning was convicted of 20 out of 22 charges,


including six under the Espionage Act. Crucially he was acquitted of


the most serious charge of aiding the enemy, which he always denied.


Prosecutors said he helped American enemies because files he leaked


were allegedly found on discs at Osama Bin Laden's compound.


fact that he might be used to embolden future whistleblowers, I


don't think that, he faces a century-and-a-half in prison.


Future wibbles there will be. The Government -- whistleblowers there


will be. The Government is concerned about it and they


levelled the aiding the enemy charge against Bradley Manning to


set a precedent. I wonder what he's thinking now, Edward Snowden, the


US spy who leaked his Government's clandestine surveillance of


civilians and is now in his sixth week here in a transit hotel in


Moscow seeking asylum somewhere in the world. He's being helped by


Julian Assange, himself holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London,


and who put Bradley Manning's treasure trove on-line. Tonight on


Twitter WikiLeaks called the convictions dangerous national


security extremism from the Obama administration. Some think the


White House has more than the whistleblowers in its sights they


recently accused a Fox News reporter of being a co-conspirator


after he reported classified information from a state department


source. The first amendment of our constitution says freedom of speech


and the press. The courts have determined that speech covers


whistleblowers, and the press it speaks for itself. What we are


seeing in some of these prosecutions and investigations is


a war against the first amendment. A chilling effect on the right of


Americans to inform their Government, their fellow citizens,


appropriate officials, of official misconduct. Senators will soon


debate new laws protecting journalists, but not people like


Bradley Manning, who the Government considers a traitor. He left court


knowing he might have started a debate about Freedom of Information,


but with a hefty prison sentence expected tomorrow, it may not be a


debate he can be part of. Adniel Ellsberg is a whistleblower


who famously leaked the Pentagon papers in 1971, which revealed


details of the American actions during the Vietnam War. With us in


Washington DC is David Rivkin, a former White House attorney serving


under Reagan and President Bush. Daniel Ellsberg do you think this


is a just verdict against Bradley Manning? I think it is


unconstitutional when applied to whistleblowering and unauthorised


disclosures to the public. I was the first person who faced the


charge and the leading attorney of the day said that the law was


clearly unconstitutional in that unprecedented use. I would say that


the law of the constitution hasn't changed, no legislation has changed.


The legal climate has changed so it is less likely that the view would


prevail in the Supreme Court today. It was absolutely right. He should


have not faced those charges or those views at all. Do you see him


then, people see him as a demonstrator, some people do, how


do you view him? I think it is outrageous for an American under


our constitution to use that term, you know, it is a term, it is the


only crime defined in our constitution to limit it to what it


was from what it was in the British Empire. That was because the people


who founded our constitution were traitors in the eyes of ING Emperor


George III. We were founded by traitors, they didn't want a law


criticising the King or the Government was treasonous, they


made the constitution that way, therefore Bradley Manning was not


charged with traesson formally, he couldn't be, because our deaf --


trees son, he couldn't be, because it means you have to adhere to the


enemies of the United States, and it is clear he didn't do that to


Al-Qaeda or the Taliban, as much as I didn't to the vet con. The


prosecution admitted itself itself to use that. Outrageous. Bradley


Manning has been compared to the founding fathers of the United


States of America? Rubbish, there is a technical definition of


treason in the constitution, that is about the only thing that Mr


Ellsberg is right about, that Mr Manning does not meet. The notion


that espionage laws and other laws that bar disclosure of classified


information utterly misleads the existing juris prudence, it is not


worth debating as it is for constitutional lawyers. I'm not a


lawyer, but I was the first person charged with that, and Mr Rivkin


doesn't know what he's talking about. If I may. Mr Rivkin. If I


can talk about it. If it hadn't been for Bradley Manning we


wouldn't have found out all the details of the mistreatment of


Iraqi prisoners, that may be embarrassing to the United States,


but surely that is something with the people of the United States


would wish to know? It is criminal. Go ahead. We are a nation of laws


and not men. We are a Republic, a democracy, we are not a


totalitarian regime. If you are confronted with evidence of


wrongdoing. I disagree that abuses that came out were nothing to do


with Mr Manning. Both of our countries believe in the rule of


law and procedures of laws, whoa made Mr Manning and Edward Snowden


God, who allowed them to decide abuses occurred and then offer


reams of information and nobody elected them or appointed them. In


a democracy that is not how you proceed, that is the fundamental


problem with the self-appointed prophets of openness. The debate


now taking place in Congress, with 205 votes voting for the first time


to rein in the NSA would not be taking place if Edward Snowden had


done anything differently than what he did do. He had been tout of the


country as he saw from -- he had to be out of the country as he saw


from Bradley Manning and incommunicado as he is right now.


We owe him a great debt for starting the possibility of


remaining a democracy and not becoming the police state of which


we now have the infrastructure. The architecture, the archives.


Rivkin? Let me say the following, the essence of American


constitutional order and for that an order of any democracy is that


processes and procedures matter more than specific policy outcomes.


Even if you take Mr Ellsberg at his word that we some how became a


fascist totalitarian state. Don't misquote me Mr Rivkin. OK, even if


it were true, even if it were true horrific abuses are occuring, which


they are not, this is not the right way to proceed. Our constitution,


Bill of Rights, separation of powers, is essentially about how we


as a body and society deal with problems. Having people break that


oath and take it upon themselves. With respect Sir you don't


understand anything about American political systems, or political


philosophy. It is again not about your outcomes it is about how you


go about solving problems. Do you believe for example with injustice


we should take arms and rise in rebellion to cure this injustice.


You misquote me. Let's not do the War of Independence all over again.


What impact do you think this will have and The Snowman case will have


on whistleblowers in the future? I'm very encouraged by the fact


there is at last the discussion taking place in the Congress for


the first time on the fact that the reforms instituted by the church


committee have failed. The Pfizer amendment court has failed as a use


of the judicial terrain in the abuses of the NSA, the intelligence


committees have failed. In fact the idea that President Obama has said


the three branches of Government have participated in this when what


you have is a secret briefing of a gang of eight in the Congress,


secret decisions on secret law by a secret court, the amendment court,


that constitutes oversight and separation of powers, is simply


absurd to say that. The fact is our secrecy system is put. Gentlemen we


have run out of time. Now the North-South divide is something


that worries politicians in all the main political parties w Labour in


recent years stronger in Scotland and the north of England and the


Conservatives stronger in the other end of the country. Today that


divide was made flesh in the shape of a living, breathing Conservative


peer, Lord Howell of Guildford who talking about the north-east of


England as good for fracking to produce energy, because of large


desolate areas. The result was a small political earthquake. First a


bit of background, the Government, at least the Conservative portion


of the Government loves the idea of fracking, led by the Chancellor,


George Osborne, who has looked with some envy across the Atlantic at


cheaper energy prices that have come about on the back of fracking.


As a result economic growth and energy-intensive industries being


re-born in the United States N this country we are at a far earlier


stage. It is still very controversial, we are at the


evaluation stage, we are at testing and evaluations and seeing if this


thing will work. We are also at the stage of protest. People worried


about what might happen to their community. It is a very delicate


stage. The Government wants to get something done, people are worried


about it. Into this very delicate balance step forward Lord Howell,


former Conservative Energy Secretary way back, he was in Mrs


Thatcher's first cabinet. What did he have to say? Would the minister


accept it could be a mistake to think of and discuss fracking in


terms of the whole UK in one go, there are obviously are in


beautiful rural areas, where it is not just the drilling and the


fracking which I think are exaggerated but the trucks and the


delivery and the roads and disturbance, those are justified


worries. But there are large and uninhabited and desolate areas,


certainly up in parts of the north- east where there is plenty of room


for fracking.... ( talking and laughter) well away from anybody's


residence without any threat to the rural environment. That brought the


House down, he's not a Government minister, why does anybody care?


Downing Street has been quick to point that out, he doesn't speak


for anybody except himself. Why is it making the news? Two reasons I


suspect, we are on the doorstep of the silly season, the Commons has


packed up and headed off for the summer break. The Lords is still


sitting just, but there is a lack of political news around and there


was another reason did I mention that Lord Howell is George


Osborne's father-in-law. No man or woman can be held responsible for


what their father-in-law had to saying, I suspect the Chancellor


would have father his wife's dad picked his words a little more


carefully. What has been the reaction? Labour MPs have said this


shows that Conservatives are out- of-touch, that they are hostile in


fact to other parts of the country apart from the south-east of


England. On Twitter we have heard about the nasty Side of Twitter


this evening, there has been some fun to be had. Particularly from


people posting rather lovely pictures of the north-east of


England, of which we can see a selection here. Under the hashtag


desolate. Lord Howell has issued a statement apologising, he said he


never intended to say the north- east of desolate, he said there are


parts of the country less densely inhabited than others. The north-


east is less densely inhabited, there are two out of 29 MPs


Conservative, I don't suspect what happened today will improve that


proportion any time soon. Brazil was once the ultimate


fantasy destination, the beaches, the carnival, the music, the


football, more recently the Brazilian dream has included rapid


economic growth, putting the bee in the called BRIC countries, was that


another fantasy? This summer has seen riots across Brazil, the


Pope's visit this month highlighted great equalities. One man who ought


to know the Brazilian realitys is former Culture Minister and


musician, Gilberto Gil, we caught up with him here on the summer


festival circuit. This is what cabinet ministers do after they


leave office. Well Brazilian cabinet ministers, to be fair.


Gilberto Gil, former Culture Secretary, to be specific, Hello,


I'm Stephen, very nice to meet you. Newsnight met him in a corner of


the WOMAD music festival. We have cleared a space in the woods for U


We began by talking about the recent riots in his homeland, he


believes they were coming for a long time. I see as a natural


consequence of you know everything that's been going on. Globally.


People having access to information and to possibilities to act


politically and everything, and of course I mean in the new element,


they are the new technologies. The World Cup and the Olympics and


the expenditure for putting those games together, they are just


triggering elements for something that has been accumulating for


longer and longer and longer. was no surprise to you? For me, no.


No surprise. I think the world was surprised. The world...It Shouldn't


Gil has mixed the musical traditions of his huge country with


western styles, as a new documentary shows. He has been a


social reformer and political activist. Thrown in jail for his


pains in the late 60s under a military dictatorship. A decade ago


he was in power himself. In the centre left Government of President


Lula. A bit of a lifestyle change for a


strolling Troubadour. Being there and having to deal with


the whole you know state affair thing it's hard. It is difficult.


Once upon a time it might have been Gil hosting the Pope on his first


overseas visit to Brazil. He's going to the favelas, to the slums,


and telling people keep on trying, you know. Carry on. Struggle. Don't


submit yourselves. So in a sense he's playing the game. He is from


Argentina, he's from a background of enduring and supporting workers


and supporting poor communities and everything. So he knows you know.


He's in, he's in his place. The World Cup is happening in


Brazil next year, how do you think it is going to go, will it pass off


peacefully? We just had the Confederation Cup a month, less


than a month ago. We had, we're able to open the new stadiums, you


know. With riots going on down the streets? With riots going on down


the streets, and I mean both things at the same time. I think that will


prevail for the World Cup and for the Olympics too. You think they


will pass off peacefully? I think so. I think so.


# So don't worry # About a thing


# Because everything will be all right


Gilberto Gil's tribute to Bob Marley, both to be considered stars


of world music. Is that a good category to be in? Or a bit of a


pigeonhole? ,r It's a little unfair in that sense, but at the same time


it gives the world, you know, a goal, a chance to say we have a


global music, we have a universal language. So from that side it is a


little positive. Whatever you call it, Gil, at 71,


continues to bring his music from Bahia in Brazil to the sun-kissed


Savannahs of the UK and beyond. I have been able to survive, I have


been able to you, you know, to do my thing, to do my travellings, to


do my, I have also as well great support from the industry and great


support from the society, from the public. And you will keep going?


Until I die I hope! Nice to meet you.


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines. With Gavin Esler.

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