22/11/2013 Newsnight


Greenpeace activists released on bail speak after two months detention in Russia. What is the future of virtual currencies? Sir Jonathan Ive and Bono on design. With Emily Maitlis.

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After 70 days in a Russian jail, the Greenpeace activists are released.


We speak exclusively to one about life behind bars and whether it has


changed his beliefs. I spend a lot of time in handcuffs and small


spaces, being transported around. It is a very claustrophobic place,


prison. Have we reached tipping point for the Bitcoin, what began as


a subversive virtual currency, is now recognised by the fed. Does it


ruin it? The Chingford boy who designed the iPod has teemed up with


Bono, a warning, there will be singing. There is a tune I wrote


earlier on it. # Strangers in the night (plays out


of tune) # Exchanging glances, lovers at


first sight! A diet of fish soup, court


appearances in cages and two months in a Russian jail, there must have


been times when the Greenpeace activists wondered if their trek


into Arctic waters had really been worth it. But today came freedom of


sorts. The release of 29 of the Arctic 30 on bail. Tonight we speak


exclusively to one of the British men freed and asked about his


experienced behind bars, and what taught him about Russia, prison and


the effectiveness of direct action. First a reminder of how it all


began. (Gunfire) It was this attempt by the protestors in September to


board an Arctic oil rig, owned by the Russian company, Gazprom, that


prompted the authorities to arrest them and charge them, first for


trespassing and then hooliganism. This wasn't the first time they were


on the rig, a year ago they got a warning from the Russians but no


arrests. Court images like this brought worldwide condemnation of


the activists' treatments. It is not just grassroots supporters is that


have been campaigning for their release. Celebrities have got in on


the act as well, causing widespread focus on the Russians and their


reaction. Focus perhaps not entirely welcome ahead of the 2014 winter


Olympics. How are you feeling? Feels very good to be out. The granting of


the bail for 29 of the 30 held in detention came just after a maritime


court ordered them to release the vessel and the crew on the payment


of a three. Six million euro bond. Russia was dismissive of the case


and said it didn't fall under the international tribunal of the law of


the see. But President Putnam said Putin -- Putin said he didn't want


to aggravate the situation. Whether they will be allowed to leave the


country we do not know. I asked one of the freed how he felt to be free?


I was jubilant this morning, the prevailing emotion most of the day.


I still feel very strongly about our cause and you know the campaign to


save the Arctic. Yeah, the period inside hasn't daunted me in the


task, but you can't spend two months in Russian prisons without really


taking a look at the whole issue and your own circumstances as well. I


have had highs and lows. You mentioned the highs and the lows,


what were the lows? The greatest low came last week when I heard that


they had applied for a three-month extension for the investigation.


Which really spelt out that there was the potential for us to be


staying in the -- jail until late February. That was worrying from the


point of view I wouldn't see my partner and I was going to miss


Christmas and I wouldn't see my family. But, yeah, I was prepared


for it. It was just a bit of a low point. But I think that the lowest


point was when I ran out of reading materials. You know when you are


sat, left alone with your thoughts, at that point you can get quite low.


You have only been out a few hours, just describe what you have decided


mentally you never want to do or see again? What do I never want to see


again? That is Russian fish soup. Yeah, I haven't made any massive


resolutions to change my way of life in any way. Did you ever question


why you had ended up where you had? No, not at all. I was there for a


reason, I have never doubted my Reasons. My resolve has never been


stronger to fight for environmental issues, particularly the campaign of


saving the Arctic and combatting climate change. Stepping back you


could say none of your actions have yet impacted on what Russia, Gazprom


or Shell are doing there, so has the direct action even worked? Had I not


have done that I wouldn't be speaking to you now I doubt. My


message is very much that humanity has to take a holistic view and


really start doing some serious work towards preventing climate


catastrophe. What we really need to do is get some kind of legal


low-binding agreement to make an Arctic refuge, and that's what


really you are aiming for, with the whole Save The Arctic Campaign. This


was a small battle in that campaign. So I think it has been absolutely


worth it. It certainly brought it to the attention of the Russian voters,


you know, hopefully it is bringing it to the dinner tables around the


world. For the conversations that will work both ways, some people


watching this will say you left the Russians no choice. They had warned


you a year ago, and those warnings hadn't been heeded, and they saw you


boarding an oil rig, they had to take the action that they took. Do


you agree with that? I think that works both ways. You know, they felt


that they had to take action but we also feel that we have to take


action. They felt what we were doing is wrong, but we know what they are


doing is wrong. Scientific fact states that the climate is changing.


And the icecaps are receding. If we don't do something who will stand up


and say now is the time to act. We can't leave it too long. There are


no constituents for the planet. We need it all realise we have to do


something for it now. I have been frustrated at times, I have been


very angry at times, but ultimately this is the price for standing up to


be counted. I would do nothing different. I'm not saying that we


should go out and do the exact same thing again. That wouldn't be


helpful or creative. I think Greenpeace has shown that it is


constantly creative in the way in which it tries to fight climate


change and I think this has been done, so something else will be done


next time. It has certainly got the conversation going in Russia and I


think to that end we have succeeded greatly.


Thank you very much indeed. A US senator has acted on the story


broken earlier this month by Newsnight that Saudi Arabia had


invested in Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme and in turn could


obtain atomic bombs at will. Ed Markey who sits on the committee of


foreign relations sought reassurance from the White House. What is the


senator actually requesting? He's clearly concerned that while the


attention has been on Iran, Saudi Arabia has been making preparations.


It has been saying explicitly to the US for years that it was making


preparations to go nuclear if Iran was ready to do the same. In his


letter to the President, which we have obtained, he says:


Essentially he's asking President Obama is this right? That the Saudis


and Pakistanies have this understanding that in extremists the


Saudis could get nuclear warheads and what is he going to do about it.


Pakistan has denied the story, what if their side is right? They have


denied it, we had Pakistani sources, former officials who said they


believed the story of the deal with Saudi Arabia was true. But they have


denied it. Saudi Arabia hasn't. That is causing some people to think,


well could the Saudis have some other track to nuclear weapons,


possibly. Something that might even continue even if there is a deal on


the Iranian nuclear programme, and Senator Markey is particularly


concerned about reports that the US has been negotiating a nuclear


technology-sharing agreement with Saudi Arabia. He writes to the


President: Of course the President may well


argue that the most important thing he can do to address these concerns


is complete this deal with the Iranians to halt their programme and


therefore calm the regional situation, news tonight, Foreign


Minister Lavrov has gone to Geneva where those talks are taking place.


Mr Hague, the British Foreign Secretary will go tomorrow morning.


John Kerry also on his way, they may be close to some sort of interim


deal on the Iranian nuclear question. The Peercoin, the other


coins making the Bitcoin look passe. They have exploded on to the public


imagination, fans are hoping it is the passport to the quick fortune.


These currencies bypass Governments and central banks, regulation and


oversight. It is the thing that makes them so attractive, but


ultimately uncontrollable. They have been seen since their inception a


shadowy form of trade. This week they got the seal of approval, or at


least recognition by none other than the Fed chairman. Has their time


come? # There is nothing quite as


beautiful as money # There is nothing quite as


beautiful as cash # With money you can make a splash!


What is money? For most people it means cash, here in this East End


market the only way is cash. Fold it up, put it in your pocket or stuff


it in your mattress, it is something you can believe in. In some quarters


that belief in paper money is beginning to crumble. Some things


have value because they are either desirable or rare. Like gold,


diamonds or famous works of art. The problem with money is that it is


anything but rare. Central banks around the world are printing the


stuff like it is going out of fashion. For some people it already


has. Using horribly complicated computer code, programmers have


replicated some of the qualities we value in something like gold.


Powerful computers compete like prospectors to unearth or mine the


coins in cyberspace, but there is a fine night supply of them. Here you


have a token, which is impossible to dilute, impossible to counterfeit,


and just like people would consider buying gold during inflationary


times, they are considering buying Bitcoin and buying Bitcoin, many


people are buying Bitcoin because they are afraid of inflation. All


very clever, what is the use of something that only exists in the


ether. You can't take that down the pub. Well actually you can! Right, a


drink I think. To buy a drink I'm going to need one of these, or one


of these. There you go. That will be ?3. 20. Thank you very much, that


was zero. 0071 Bitcoins to pay. So far virtual currencies have been in


the shadows of the financial system, an experiment in creating a new form


of exchange. But when the world's most powerful banker name checks


them, people sit up and listen. A word or phrase from the Fed


chairman can move markets, this was no exception, Bitcoins soared in


value after the recent comments. Bitcoins are now worth ?730 each,


two years ago it was three. Virtual currencies have been used across


cyberspace. currencies have been used across


two years ago it was three. Virtual currencies have been used across


two years ago it was three. Virtual happening in the central blanks. And


two years ago it was three. Virtual moving into something that they


It is a socioeconomic movement we are going through at the moment,


every time you have that you have to have the money behind it, a currency


behind that, be that golden. At the moment this seems to be Bitcoin.


What do you mean it is a socioeconomic move? It is a


libertarian movement, it is a "by the people for the people" get away


from big Government and big industry, get away from the people


polluting the seas, the Internet and the global financial crisis. The


LIBOR scandals, the scandals in HSBC, they are talking about Silk


Road and HSBC, the current scandal can Co-Op bank, people are scared by


the banking in this country and around the world. But you heard the


point the commentator made that people think it is a post-Government


currency, it is not, because the Government can step on it or stamp


it out if they want to? That is false. Why? Because it is completely


outside, it is like P-to-P file swapping hitting the music industry,


this is the same thing with money. With the current regulatory


environment will be as effective at stopping that as the music industry.


Governments have already seized Bitcoins. And they couldn't hack


into it. The Bitcoins... If they see it as a threat they will take it off


the people, we all know that. How do they do that then? How do they take


it off people? It is just like I have cash in my waet now, there is


no way of insuring your Bitcoins against loss. That is one of the


fears. They can take it off you or get it off your computer. This is


what is happening in this industry, the environment in the US and the UK


versus the rest of the world, China, India, around the world, Bitcoin is


the unbanked of the world. Six billion people don't have access to


banking infrastructure as such are now using these currencies with


their mobile technologies, and they will lead this market. The number


one market for Bitcoin is in China. If the US and the UK don't want to


compete in this market they can go home, we don't want them to compete


in this market. When you say Bitcoin to people, a lot of people will


think of the dark net, the drugs, the child porn, the rather seedy


side of the transactions that people don't want to do up front. Isn't


that where Bitcoin is going to stay? No, of course not. That is a very


minor part. When Silk Road was busted the Bitcoin started to move


up in value because you got rid of what was perceived a bad agent in


the market. There is a commerce element to Bitcoin, fine, the


majority of reason we are looking at Bitcoin now is the increase in


price. That is what takes it way in currency. If I owe you ?200 and it


is trading at ?2 and I give you a Bitcoin and say the debt is done,


tomorrow the Bitcoin halves and I get away with not paying you ?100.


The market is so volatile people can't use it as exchange currency.


There is no currency. 16% risk we are seeing on daily basis the


Instant transaction like bit-pay. Which not many people will take at


the moment? It is a huge industry. What about all the other currency, I


mentioned at the beginning there, the Peercoin, and the lobe bow nick


Celt and all the rest of it. If you can do an algorithm you want to code


a new coin? Internet affect -- internet affectation. Would you


invest in it? I had a look at it a couple of years ago looked at the


infrastructure and sold it back. Sir Richard brandson is looking at


Bitcoin for his interspacial flight new programme, he has already booked


a quarter of a million dollar seat with it. There are 20,000 merchants


that accept Bitcoin and it is growing in popularity. Thank you.


Probably the most influential man you have never heard of, the


Chingford-born design genius behind some of apple's most ubiquitous


products. In keeping with their it is a ternity, tacit ternity, he


rarely gives interviews. Joining with Bono for a charity event he


broke his silence. Designed doesn't get any more rarified and bespoke


than this. 43 one-off pieces, specially commissioned for an


auction in New York. The famous face of the sale is the singer Bono. But


apple's design supremo Sir Johnny Ine is the man sweating over the


nuts and bolts, you would be hard pressed to find one here. What is


interesting about these things is they are so purposeful, and there is


incredible beauty cons Kent of just how focussed and -- consequent of


how focussed and beautiful they are. Mostly you don't know who designed


them or their biography, but you see what they do, and they do it so


beautifully. A private view of the lot, before they are auctioned


tomorrow more Bono's Product Red Charity. Which raises money to


tackle AIDS, Malaria and TB in Africa. This is a tune earlier I


wrote on it. # Strangers in the night (plays out


of tune # Exchanging glances


# Lovers at first sight. Don't give up the day job,


to get ready. I thought OK, I thought I would see all of them, and


be trusted to see all the new apple products. And I walked in. I hope


you will tell us about it, these guys won't? They had them all


covered which was upsetting. I just saws desks -- saw desks everywhere


with these cloths, as well as hurt I thought that was a very dull grey.


Despite apple's strange approach of pre-viewing its goodies, I was


willing to discuss this computer, spoiler alert it is not out yet.


This is the MacPro, just launched. It is like a number of the PCs here,


it is made from alluminium, we experimented with anodisinging it in


-- anodising it. The apple product will be in the grey, but this is the


only one. What if there is a huge demand, it is too bad? There is just


one. The approach was just to have essentially CPU, just the actual


computing brain. And make that as fast as possible. But the cooling


system actually means that it runs very quietly. Is it inspired by a


wine cooler, because it lose look a little like a very sophisticated one


doesn't it? I think what is more interesting is the inside. You


actually see how it has been infigured about this central


chimney, the air is pulled in through the bottom. That is a handle


. I think as part of the human condition we sense when people care.


We probably sense more when people don't care. And the majority of our


manufactured environment, testifies to people actually not really caring


about us. Space, in fact, and fiction, has been a major influence


on apple's lead designer. No wonder he has included a space shuttle in


the auction. Not a whole one. This is a window. And also I think the


shape is just extraordinary as well. Do you think design and engineering


gets the credit it deserves? Does Government give it enough attention,


is it, is enough time spent on it at school and university. Are we


encouraging people to be good at what you guys are exemplares of?


There is certainly an issue, it is an expensive subject to teach.


Because it requires workshops and machinery. So sadly there is not


the, you know when we were growing up and certainly in the UK the UK


has had an incredible tradition of design education. There is certainly


not the same commitment, you don't see as many workshops when you work


around schools now. Some may feel there is a large element of boys


toys about this show and this auction. And they may think that it


might be better and easier if apple and you didn't just reach into your


pockets and make a contribution that way? You know apple are leading


right out front. They are the largest corporate donor to the


global fund, which is the mechanism to get these AIDS drugs to people


who don't have them. They are very quiet about it, they are very apple


about it, it is annoying sometimes, because they are doing such great


work. Again, I just say to you, this is quite a sly political tool. And


we can all give and do you know, our band, U two is also Red, but that's


the point is the neon, the excitement, the sort of making this


a political priority by keeping it in the public discussion. There is


still time to get your bids in. Though a Russian oligarch is said to


be determined to snap up the Soyuz spacesuit. Just the papers before


That is all tonight, but those of a certain age can remember where they


were 50 years ago today when they heard the news, that of President


Kennedy's assassination. We will leave you with the sharp images of


those moments in 1963. Good night.


Greenpeace activists released on bail speak after two months detention in Russia. What is the future of virtual currencies? Sir Jonathan Ive and Bono on design. With Emily Maitlis.

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