19/12/2013 Newsnight


Woolwich verdict; UK complicity in 'rendition' flights; theatre roof collapse; President Putin pardons political foe; Obamacare and Gaia launch.

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Whiched Fusilier Ian Rigby's killers were convicted today of his cold


blooded murder. They were followers of extreme political Islam for many


years. Why were they not stopped when the warning signs, such as a


hatred of the west were there. You are clear that this kind of ideology


of hatred, of conflict can feed into terrorism? It isn't just "can" feed


into terrorism, it does feed into terrorism and they produce


terrorism. Since 9/11 we have been repeatedly assured that the UK


played no part in rendition suspects. Today the Government was


confronted with evidence that this is not true. Why no independent


inquiry as David Cameron once promised. We speak to Sir Menzies


Campbell, part of the group investigating what happened.


Dimir Putin says he intended to pardon Russia's richest man, is it


an attempt to get the world on side ahead of the Sochi Olympics. Gaia,


the most powerful telescope in the world was launched today, ready to


map a billion stars. How will it transform our understanding of the


galaxy? As we go on air tonight there are dramatic scenes in the


heart of London Theatreland, where part of the roof of the Apollo


Theatre has collapsed during the performance of the curious Incident


of a Dog In the Nightime. We will bring you latest pictures and news.


The two killers of Ian Rigby described themselves as soldiers of


Allah. They were convicted today after a trial which exposed his


killers' extreme interpretation of Islam and their complete lack of


remorse. There were danger signs, both men associated with known


Islamist extremists from groups this programme has tracked for years. So


what role did radicalisation play in the brutal take and after Lee


Rigby's murder will there be a crackdown. There are distressing


images from the start. Fusilier Le Rigg was the victim of a


savage attack. You can see him highlighted, a Carayolying his


killers accelerated knocking him down. The occupants got out,


stabbing him repeatedly, they tried to can he cap Tate him. --


decapitate him. The only reason we have killed this man today is


because Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers. He was the soldier


that was spotted first. It is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.


We swear by a mighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you


leave us alone. The soldier is the fairest target. This horrific attack


and murder, which took place in broad daylight on the streets of


London shocked the whole country. The brutal murder of Lee Rigby,


right here said something about criminally deranged minds, it said


something about the threat of extremism in Britain today, and the


tiny minority of Muslims who believe that Islam is at war with the west.


Crickets say successive Governments have failed to address this problem


for more than 15 years. For some like this Islamic scholar, the


murder of Lee Rigby is a journey beginning before the 9/11 attacks in


2001. We have to think very coverallly, because if we don't


arrest this now, even though it is very late in the day, there are


still those who are coming from Syria, coming from Somalia, coming


from Pakistan, coming from Afghanistan. Coming back to the


country? Coming back to the country. More murderers are coming on the


way, if you are not very careful. Anjum chowedry, -- Choudray one of


the most vocal Islamists in the country, he was a leading figure in


a leading Islamic group. When that was banned other splinter groups


emerged, it is clear that Adebolajo was interested in extreme political


Islam. Choudray told me he was never a member, but admitted that


Adebolajo did attempt. Do you believe David Cameron gets caught in


the street, do you think we start fussing our guns, will the


politicians get done, it will be the average guys like you and your


children. Get rid of them, tell them to bring our troops back so you can


all live in peace. His accomplice, Michael Adabowale attended the same


event outside St Paul's Cathedral in London last year. If you see evil


change it with your hand if can you do so, if you cannot do so, them


speak out against it. You are clear that this kind of ideology of


hatred, of conflict, can feed into terrorism? It is not just it can


feed into terrorism, it does feed into terrorism, if the men -- it is


the main producer of terrorism. Hate receipt is the basic starting point.


When the two planes magnificently ran through those buildings, OK, and


people turn around and say, hang on a second, that is barbaric... I have


been following the group for more than a decade, this was in 2004, I


was I was invited to attend a meeting. You describe the planes


flying into the two towers, and you said it was magnificent, how can you


justify that as Islam, Jewish or Christian. If you start the war we


won't give the other cheek. The actual killing of innocent civilians


can't be right? It can't be right according to you. According to you


it can't be right. According to Islam it is absolutely right. A year


later, immediately after the London bombings, I caught up with another


leading figure in the group. What I would say about those who do suicide


operations or martyr operations, suicide is a term kind in the media,


they are completely praiseworthy. Remember the man who called the 9/11


attacks magnificent, we talked to him in 2005. For them the banner has


been risen inside the UK for Jihad. For them they are allowed to attack,


they have probably many other cells in the UK. What the radicals say,


and they have said it to me personally, you are a kaffer you are


less worthwhile than a -- kaffir, and you are less worthwhile than a


fellow Muslim? They are absolutely wrong. To judge who is what is not


any Muslim or any person's business, we are not gods. It is God's


business to judge. Anjum Choudray refused to condemn Lee Rigby's


murder, he prefers to condemn Muslim murders around the world. He said:


There is another radical, a supporter of the group, who


reportedly came into contact with Lee Rigby's killers. His name is


Usman Ali, he has previously admitted joining the group in the


199 #0S. This was his local mosque, Greenwich Islamic Centre. He used to


run prayer sessions here. The mosque leadership spent ?30,000 of their


own money taking him to court after they said he had shown footage of


the 9/11 attacks to an audience, including children. In 2007 the


court agreed to a lifetime ban. After he got kicked out of the


Islamic Centre, the former member of the group came here to the community


centre in Plumstead, this place has received some council funding. We


understand that the two killers attended at least some of his


lectures here. The council denies there is a problem with extremist


preaching at the centre. We tried to speak to Usman Ali, but he declined


to answer questions. Previously he denied's extremist, and says doesn't


support terrorism. We Muslims have suffered, and if we do not take


action then we will suffer even more. But in order to be fective


then we need the support of the Government, the state, the people.


Massive mobilisation at all levels from schools, colleges,


universities, mosques, churches, any place of gathering this should be


the discussion. There are signs of a fundamental re-think about how to


tackle extremism. This document published just a couple of weeks ago


by a special Government task force contains a very interesting clause,


it says we have been too reticent to deal with extremism in this country.


In part, because of a misplaced concern that attacking Islamist


extremism equates to an attack on Islam itself. It is clear after the


murder of Lee Rigby the Maoed is about to change. But change is


coming late. 12 years after -- the mood is about to change. But change


is coming late, 12 years after 9/11, and ten years after Britain accepted


radicals saying they weren't plotting terrorism here. Lee Rigby's


murder carries another meaning, can the will be found to tackle


extremism, not just those who plan violence but those who preach hate.


This is the biggest security challenge for the UK. To discuss


that I'm joined now by my guests. Baroness Polly Neville Jones, a


senior researcher of the anti-extreme agency, and a senior


research fellow. These men were radicalised not just by the Internet


or even on the Internet, but out on the streets, out in different


places. Why were they not picked up. We have seen that they actually were


very public in their condemnation of the west? We have also seen that


there are hundreds of young men like this, probably thousands with those


views and the Security Services can't keep an eye on two or three


thousand people 24/7. That is the essence of the problem. Also has


there been a disconnect that other Muslims perhaps who know them or who


live in the street beside them are reluctant to come forward? It is


possible that some of their friend or close family may have known about


this, and that we know it is very difficult to get close knit


communities and families to speak out. The fundamental challenge is to


destroy the argument that they use. Those placards in the street, what


he was saying, all those arguments need to be taken head on. Do you


think part of the problem is there has not been a preparedness to take


these arguments head on, not a preparedness to discuss British


foreign policy, not a preparedness to discuss how you pond to it if you


are unhappy about it. Even to be seen to be discussing this flags you


out as extremist? I don't think that is the case, I do think that


Government has to be prepared to defend the policies that it pursues,


but I think the Government has been pretty clear for some time. The


issue is not just violence, it is actually extremism. And where we


need to go now is developing a policy which actually tackle


extremism. That is the root of the thing. We have to live in a country


where we share basic values. Do you agree that the problem is there are


so many people that hold the similar views that it is impossible to track


them down. One of them was actually ejected from Kenya, one was filmed


on a soapbox, are they so off the radar? Two things, one is clearly


you have to pursue and you have to try to get hold of, and you have to


try to neutralise those who are already down the road to violence,


but there is a separate very important task, which is prevent


others following them. That is where we have to go to limit the numbers.


Now we have this document about tackling extremism, is the


Government going about this the right way? Parts of the document


should definitely be welcomed. Which parts? To actually define extremism


and to say that is at the root of this is very important. Some of the


focus on universities, on prisons, there are a number of things to be


welcomed. But, at the same time they advocated a lot of consultation,


looking at new legislation, are you trying to be seen to do something


new? But actually we have a significant body of counter


terrorism legislation that we just simply don't enforce. Is part of the


reason we don't enforce that a timidity, a danger to be seen to be


anti-Islamic? It may be, I think also some of the offences I'm


thinking of, like prescribed organisation offences are quite hard


to prove, and I think there might be an unwillingness or inability to do


so. I think given the men's connections to the extremism group


the offences need to be taken seriously, they can be used to


disrupt the extremist preaching we are so concerned about. A


contributor to the film says the Government needs to do more, needs


to step in and help more. The idea of helping Imams on campuses and so


forth to make sure they are picking out people who are problematic. Do


you think that is enough, or do we need to have a whole different


discussion about the way we conduct foreign policy? I don't think it is


Government but people who work with Government. It is civic society that


needs to take the lead there, more Government support actually ruins


the work because people say Government sell-out. It needs Muslim


leadership, Muslim communities to stand up to the hate preachers and


say enough of this in our mosques, community centres, campuses. It is a


small minority and they are very vocal. They are challenging the


Government report saying it is anti-Islam, those arguments need to


be challenged. It is civilic society, decent Muslims need to


stand up. It is interesting you should say that the decent Muslims


of which 99% plus are the case. But within the Muslim communities don't


we need to have much more engagment within the broader parts of the


United Kingdom, we are discussing this with each other? Certainly we


need wider society to discuss this. But when you say 99% of decent


Muslim, the proportion of extremist sympathisers is very high. Some of


those slogans, people won't support terrorism or violence but they will


support the anti-western and pro-Sharia. How do you deal with


that, they might not agree with it whole heartedly but they won't, as


it were turn people in. There is a lot of people like that it has just


been said? You have several problems and you can't tackle all of them and


solve all of them. Some people will actually slip and get through the


net because they are not reported on. Having said that, I don't think


that should be, we need to pursue those people, but we need to do a


lot of other things as well. Where I think we do need to focus our


attention in the light of what the Prime Minister himself has been


saying about extremism is that actually we need to enlarge the


programmes which are directed absolutely specifically at creating


a much more integrated community in this country. That's very important.


Put money in there. One thing you think would make a difference? going


unchallenged. Enforcing existing legislation and taking seriously


people in mosques and universities. Institutions or people promoting


those views is unacceptable. We need to do both. Thank you very much.


Now when David Cameron announced an inquiry where the judge Sir Peter


Gibson, into allegations of British involvement in rendition flights and


the abuse of terror suspect, the Prime Minister said he was


determined to clear things up in order to restore Britain's moral


leadership. That inDwyery was parked -- inquiry was parked last year, so


as not to compromise police investigations, today in the Commons


there were accusations of whitewash when the Government presented


Gibson's interim findings. He said they would be taken up by the


Intelligence and Security Committee instead.


27 questions of what happened in the aftermath of 9/11, how our security


forces acts and whether they were complicit in kidnap and torture. The


first stories of rendition, ghost flights and black prisons trickled


out in the early 2000s, claims the CIA was deliberately moving


prisoners between a network of secret jails, how much did MI6 and


the British Government know about this? In 2010 David Cameron promised


an independent inquiry, led by a judge, to many that question. The


longer these questions remain unanswered the bigger the stain on


our reputation as a country that believes in freedom and fairness and


human rights. Sir Peter Gibson has had access to 20,000 top secret


files. After a two-year review he chooses his words carefully. It does


appear from the documents that the United Kingdom may have been


inappropriately involved in some renditions, that is a very serious


matter. But Sir Peter's inquiry was forced to stop work early, that is


because of what's alleged to have happened in this Libyan prison. The


police are still investigating claims that British spies provided


tip-offs which led to suspects being tortured. The Minister without


Portfolio. Mr Keneth Clarke. In a report to parliament, Sir Peter set


out 27 different questions, the Security Services still need to


answer about rendition. In a U-turn the inquiry will now be by


parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee, and not the


promised independent judge. The Prime Minister was right to have


initiated a judge-led inquiry, I'm sorry to see it go, that would have


been the best way to restore public confidence. You need to bear in mind


that the Intelligence and Security Committee has already done a report


into this in 2007. They came to the conclusion that there were no


problems on this issue of kidnap and torture and they were completely


wrong. The following year the High Court concluded that Britain had


facilitated kidnap and torture. The decision is also a blow to math man,


the Libyan, Hakim Belhadj. He claims MI6 provided information which led


to his kidnap and rendition in 2004. Without having a largely open


process, where those who have been abused get to put their case forward


and we get to cross-examine witnesses, without those measures in


place you won't get to the truth of what really happened. The man who


would lead the new inquiry said the public can have faith in the


committee. The law now requires the intelligence agencies, They have a


statutory duty to provide the information we seek. Our staff for


the first time ever go into MI six, MI5 and can themselves examine the


files. There can be confidence that anything that is relevant we will


see. With 27 different questions to answer, the committee will have to


work hard to prove it can be as independent as the judge-led inquiry


once promised by David Cameron. Menzies Campbell, a member of the


Intelligence Security Committee joins me from Edinburgh, Clare Algar


the executive director of human rights Campaign Group Reprieve, is


here in London. First of all, your manifesto commitment called for a


judge-led inquiry, you have been involved in two previous committee


inquiries that came up with absolutely nothing, that is


hopeless, isn't it? I wouldn't say that at all. The conclusions reached


on previous occasions were based on the information that was made


aveilable to the committee -- available to the committee. There


wasn't the opportunity to examine the 20,000 documents that Sir Peter


Gibson's preliminary inquiry has examined. And the powers of the


committee at that time were quite different as Malcolm Rifkind has


just pointed out. These are very different circumstances, obtained at


a time when the judge-led inquiry was promised. They are different


circumstances but the interesting thing as Menzies Campbell said, they


didn't have access to the other information then, which shows that


both the inquiries stood for nothing. Yes, I mean as was


mentioned earlier, our client Hakim Belhadj was rendered to Libya in


2004, when Tripoli fell we found a letter in the office of the spy


master Mousa Koussa, signed by the director of MI6, taking personal


credit for the air cargo delivered, and three years later the IOC knows


nothing about it. And the next thing referred to in the report was


referring to Mr Muhammad's case is there is nothing referring to the


case. You know something will happen because it couldn't possibly not


happen now with the raising of the flag? The changes to the ISC can


demand rather than request documents and the ISC was previously made up


of people chosen by the Prime Minister is now people nominated by


the Prime Minister and then elected. It doesn't seem that it will have


the credibility that the Prime Minister was going for with the


judge-led panel. Society has Prior to becoming a member of the


Intelligence Security Committee I had great interest into this, I was


the first one to raise the question of whether Diego Garcia was used for


that purpose. I have a strong interest in asking the kind of


questions necessary to get to the truth. On that point let me


interrupt just a second. Based on the 20,000 documents. On that very


point you are making about rendition, one of the Reprieve


reports said there were 107 drops by CIA flights? I asked questions about


that as well and didn't get what I now understand to be satisfactory


answers. But just remember this, the claim of whitewash is easy to make,


it is difficult to disprove until the work is carried out and there is


no other Select Committee of parliament which has as its


membership, among its membership three QCs and a former cabinet


secretary, all of with experience of cross-examination, and in the


cabinet secretary's case a real and intimate understanding of how


intelligence is treated in Government. Yet when you have the


opportunity to cross-examine the three spy chiefs, they were handed


the questions in advance and they weren't exactly grilled. That was


the very first time that any spy chief had appeared in public. Not


surprisingly they were concerned that they did not reveal classified


information, and so too was the committee. But we have broken that


particular ice and you can be certain that people like myself and


others on the committee will not spare any service chief or any


officer of any service if we feel it is necessary in order to get to the


truth. It is a credibility point. That was the moment when the


newly-fledged ISC was there. A Tory MP called it a pantomime. We have to


stop it there, thank you very much, we will be returning to this.


Back to the news that part of the ceiling of the Apollo Theatre in


London has collapsed urgh a performance. What is the latest now?


Kirsty, we know now that there have been no fatalities from this. We


have the total number of injured, 85 is total, 81 walking wounded that is


cuts and bruises and the like, four more seriously injured but nothing


life-threatening. Those four have been taken to three hospitals around


London, including UCH and St Thomas's. When I got here just


before 9.00, it was a chaotic scene, there was a lot of police shouting


about people getting behind cordons, thousands of people out partying in


Soho as they do, trying to bring that to order. Sigh witnesses


telling accounts of what happened with so the on their faces. faces.


00 packed into the theatre watching The Curious Incident of the Dog In


The Nightime, four minutes in there was a cracking sound and dust came


down into the ceiling, and quarter or a third of the ceiling fell down


on to the stalls, not the higher circles, it is a fairly steep


theatre it fell on to the stalls, there was dust everywhere and people


started moving out. Within three minutes the police were on the scene


taking things in hand. Some of the injured were taken to the Gielguld


theatre and other theatres to be attended to. I have seen a crane


going up to the roof of the theatre trying to fix it. Vladimir Putin


waited until the very end of his press conference today confirming


that the amnesty for Russian prisoners would include the two


jailed members of Pussy Riot, and the 30-member crew of the Greenpeace


protest ship before dropping a bombshell, that he intended to on


freeing the former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky. It is to ease tensions


ahead of the winter Olympics in Sochi, what will be the future of


Khodorkovsky, once one of the world's richest men. Several weeks


after my arrest I was informed that President Putnam Putin had decided I


was going to have to slurp gruel for 20 years. The words of Mikhail


Khodorkovsky spoken at a German conference for human rights last


month titled From Russia With Love. For me, like anybody, it is hard to


live in jail and I do not want to die there. He spoke those words in a


court in 2010, facing charges of imbeling $20 billion. New charges


and a new trial, he had already been in jail for seven years.


Khodorkovsky got rich after his bank lent money to a Russian state-owned


oil company, these loans were later swapped for underpriced shares, soon


worth billions, before he turned 40 he was the richest man in Russia.


But in February 2003 Khodorkovsky went on national TV and made


allegations of high-level corruption. His fate was sealed. I'm


also here as a son of Mikhail Khodorkovsky.


circumstances of a humanitarian nature. His mother is ill, and I


think that bearing in mind those circumstances it is possible to make


that decision and I will soon sign an order about his pardon. With the


winter Olympics in Sochi coming up, sceptics may believe that President


Putin is concerned about avoiding another boycott of a Russian


Olympics. I'm joined by the former Prime Minister who knows Mr


Khodorkovsky and was the former Prime Minister of Russia in the


early 20000s. Good evening -- 2000s, what calculation do you think that


Putnam is making by releasing Mikhail Khodorkovsky? Good evening,


I think the decision which Mr Putin announced today is absolutely


connected to the up coming Olympic Games, in fact Mr Khodorkovsky


should be an announcing his sentence period next July, six or seven


months ahead, but Mr Putin made a decision to release, in fact to


pardon him, and explaining that there was a special request almost


as it was a recognition of guilt, that was absolutely not. This


cynical approach of Mr Putin is very clear. Of course everyone who just


quite is indifferent to what is going on in Russia, my country,


understands that the whole criminal sentence was fabricated by


authorities and Mr Putin was just on top of all these special operations.


What do you think will happen now to Mr Khodorkovsky, do you think he


will try to pursue a political career again, do you think he will


stay in Russia, do you think there have been conditions put on his


pardon? We don't know whether conditions were put, but in fact it


was about his being in politics. He was never in politics, but I think


he will continue to do what he did before his arrest, just trying to


finance and to support civil society developments, different causes, used


to support young people, internet involvement and development of the


internet over all Russia. But he was publicly critical of Vladimir Putin.


Do you think now he will have to keep his mouth shut? I think he will


continue to stay on the critical positions. Of course not in such a


harsh manner as we in the real opposition do, but in any case he


will continue to stay on this platform. You and he are friends and


you spoke on behalf of his oil company, you spoke on behalf of him.


He supports you I understand. Do you think that you will call on his


support again if indeed you decide to run for office again? We were


never friends, Mr Khodorkovsky was one of the biggest and richest


people when I was Prime Minister at that time. We had very tough talks


when we launched our tax reforms and Mr Khodorkovsky in the beginning was


afraid of these reforms. But later understanding that we were very


consistent in our pursuing the reform he started to support. And


then in the end he became just I would say a supporter of reforms in


Russia, but, in fact, I knew what happened at that time and I was


witnessing in a court proceedings Mr Khodorkovsky was not guilty and the


whole operation was fabricated by the authorities. That is clear for


all educated people. Thank you very much for joining us. President


Obama's health care reform was designed to extend health insurance


to the estimated 15% of Americans without it. But the roll-out has


been beset by problems, not least a website proved insufficient to the


task. It has suffered more than technical problems, some


Republican-run states like Mississippi have rejected the plan


but also federal money that will come with it.


We travelled across Mississippi asking how Obamacare is being


received in one of America's poorest and sickest states. Oak Hill Baptist


Church is a little different for the south. It is not the funk or the


faith that sets them apart, it is that fried chicken is banned from


church socials, in a state where they are evangelical about fried


food. # All right Meet Pastor Michael


Minor, a man filled with more than just religious passion. He wants to


improve his congregation's health in a state where obesity, heart disease


and cancer rates are sky high, he sees signing people up to Obamacare


as a spiritual duty, a cure for his congregations' hurt.


# Are you glad # That God loves you


# You, you and you # He loves you.


If you don't have health insurance it hurts you three ways, you hurt


mentally because you worry about not having insurance, you hurt


physically because you are not having the check-ups you need. And


spiritually because you are wondering what about your


relationship with God, if you are not careful you are start wondering


to yourself why would God let me wander into this spot where I have


no coverage. There is an aching disappointment here that the


Republicans, who control the state, will have nothing to do with


Obamacare, which makes it far more difficult for people to sign up.


Some see old forces at work. That ain't no news for Mississippi. Why


do you think it is? Because of the prejudice that we have in


Mississippi, not because of the care, it is because of the black man


that is trying to bring this affordable care. And Mississippi has


always, I was born in Mississippi, but Mississippi has always been


prejudiced. The land where the Blues began, still has its share of woes,


in the poorest state in the USA, the cost of health insurance under the


President's plan will be higher than in much richer places because of the


bad health. One in five don't have health cover at the moment and the


state's opposition puts off insurance companies joining in. Only


two are interested. One of them is taking its office out on the road,


but in the morning we spent with them, not a single person showed any


interest. There is overwhelming hostility to Obamacare, practical


and politically. It contradicts a free country. Being made to have


health insurance? Being made to have everything. I don't see anything


wrong with it, it is a good programme, it is the fact you have


to have it. I like what I have got, and the price I have got, the prices


don't sound good. You think you will pay more? Much more. The hostility


of younger and fitter peop could doom Obamacare if not enough sign up


by next spring it won't work. We need to be doing what we need to do


ourselves, I don't think we need to go through anybody else to say we


need health care, if we need health care we need to say for ourself that


we need it. Have you got health care? No, Sir. Are you going to sign


up? I probably pay the fine. Many doctors won't have anything to do


with Obamacare either, or even existing plans for the retired and


poor. They say they don't get paid enough. Dr Eric Richardson said


patients will end up paying more, doctors will get less and only the


insurance companies will get rich. But he also thinks it is plain


wrong. You know you are talking about 250 years of the constitution


in the United States and now this is being told to the American citizens,


you must buy health care, and that's a new law thrust on each individual


by the Government. There is a degree of contention there. Would it be


great to have coverage for all Americans, is it a good idea to --


yes. Is it a good idea to make it a law I'm not so sure. Just as the


mighty Mississippi carves its way down the centre of the United


States, so Obamacare divides this country politically. It too has the


potential and the power to transform the land cape all around it. It will


be this President's legacy, and whether it succeeds or fails in


states like this will be hugely important for the party and his


reputation. This is what a Tea Party, party looks like. A festive


gathering to meet state senator, Chris McDaniel, he's taking on his


own party's establishment and challenging the Republican senator


who have had the job for 30 years. What is so wrong with trying to take


care of the health care system without a centralised Government


doing it. He's thinking blocking Obamacare and fighting it all the


way is a vote-winner. He needs to honour or constitution, just because


something is a good idea you don't violate the constitution. You have


to ask the question can it be afforded and administered


effectively and efficiently, what we have seen it is so structurally


unsound and deficient it can't be. Others think conservatives fear a


potentially popular programme. Let's be honest, a lot of people on the


other side of the political spectrum they do recognise it is something


that literally could change a whole generation. Because you want to make


something look bad because if it turns out other people like it who


will they give credit to. Perhaps the President's plan will end up


being praised in America's sickest state. But the south is riven,


suspicion, hostility and poverty may combine to put redemption beyond


reach for Obamacare. A telescope designed to create the


most accurate map of our galaxy and discover unknown planets and


asteroids blasted into space. Gaia, the personification of the God that


gave birth to the universe, is on a mission to map the stars. And


British scientist have been on the forefront. At nine. Ten GMT Gaia


took to the skies from French Guiana. Its five-year mission, to


unlock the secrets of the Milky Way. At a distance of one. Five million


kilometres beyond earth. It will measure the brightness of a billion


stars. Creating a three dimensional map of our galaxy and beyond. On


board Gaia is the biggest camera ever flown into space, along with


two optical telescopes. Together they are capable of measuring the


position of the stars extraordinarily accurately. So


accurately it could see the equivalent to the width of a human


hair at 2,000kms. Except, of course it won't be looking for human hairs,


but big stars at even bigger distances. The project, 20 years in


the making has been described as the biggest "selfie" in history. I'm


joined by the senior scientific adviser in the European Space


Agency's directorate in science and robotic exploration, who joins us


from the Nethelands. T How will it transform things? As you said we


will be measuring a billions stars in the Milky Way extremely


accurately, not just the positions but how they move. It aknows us to


make a move year, we can run the movie forwards and see how the Milky


Way will turn out in billions of years time, and more importantly we


can run it backwards and see where all the stars, a billion stars, 1%


of all the stars in the galaxy, where they came from. We know the


Milky Way didn't form as one thing, it formed out of pieces, out of


smaller galaxies that merged together. In that coming together,


they left a trail in our Milky Way today, which we can see in the


movements of the stars today. Therefore we can trace the history


of the Milky Way with Gaia. Is it about archaeology or an endeavour


that will make a difference? It is partly archaeology, but in order to


be able to run this movie backwards we have to make one of the biggest


star at logs ever made. That will enable enormous new discoveries to


be made in atrophysics across many domains, we will be discovering lots


of new planets going around other stars, because by measure measuring


the motions of the stars we will spot some of them that might be


wobbling with planets going around them. We will find asteroids in the


Solar System, near to us, some on a collision course with the earth.


That is good to know about. We will find supernova, exploding stars and


things we hadn't thought of at this point. How likely is it that we will


find signs of life? Well Gaia is not designed to do that, what it will do


is find lots of new planetary systems, planets going around stars,


elsewhere in the Milky Way. Those will become prime targets for


follow-up observations with other observe trees, either on the ground


or in 2018 the James Webb telescope, a big problem we are working on with


NASA. When there will be the first results? The satellite is on its way


to a point one. Five million kilometres away. We will see numbers


soon to check the instruments out. Anything it discovers in the first


few months, rapidly changing or varying objects we will have those


out straightaway. They will be open to the community. The big catalogue


and final result will take us a full five years plus some data


processing, it is a colossal amount of data we take. We have to analyse


it all in one go to make one big map of the galaxy we live in. It is a


little while coming, we have waited 20 years already, we can wait a few


more. That's all for tonight, join


Victoria for our last show of 2013 tomorrow night. Before we go Marylin


Monroe may have been brought back tonight for Christmas to advertise


an iconic perfume, Elvis Presley may have done better, his voice coming


from the mouth of a Canadian teenager. He has been a superstar


and a media dearlying. # When those blue snowflakes


# Start falling # That's when those blue


# Memories are calling # You'll be doing all right with


Christmas so white # But I'll be blue, blue, blue


Christmas A cold night tonight, with showers, it may be icy for the


morning rush hour, generally a dry and bright start to Friday with


sunshine. But another batch of wet and windy weather will come sweeping


across the UK. Looking like a fairly missable afternoon across Northern




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