20/06/2014 Newsnight


The stories behind the day's headlines. The Bitish jihadis fighting for ISIS. How did welfare reform go wrong? And Fidel Castro's bodyguard dishes the dirt. With Emily Maitlis.

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who have signed up for Jihad, ISIS recruits via video and calls on


western Muslims to fight and die. This is a message to the brothers


who stay behind. You need to ask yourselves what sprints you from


coming to the land of Israel, and joining the ranks of the mujahideen.


The father of one young man that appears says he doesn't recognise


his son. I don't think it is him talking somebody else is teaching


him to talk like this. The attitude is 100% different. Also tonight: I


have suspended your claim because there is a change in your income,


hand on heart, don't worry about it. Benefit reform has been labelled a


fiasco. Has the attack on dependency culture blown up in the Government's


face. And dishing the dirt on the man who ruled rub bah which what


seemed to be exemplary zeal. The Government was grieving on drug


trafficking deals, that is when he stopped being my idol. Give up the


fat job and the big car all you brothers in the west, the cure for


depression is Jihad. The message of the ISIS video chilling, it could


have provided the inspiration for the movie Four Lion, young men from


Britain and the United States the movie Four Lion, young men from


elsewhere sitting on the ground with weapons trying to recruit westerners


to the brutal tort group destroying Iraq.


to the brutal tort group destroying to remove the video from


to the brutal tort group destroying which has yet to be verified. Let's


take a look. You who believe, answer the all of Allah and his messenger


when he calls you to what gives you life. It says what gives you life is


Jihad. That was a taste of that video. Richard Watson is here, what


do we know of the men involved? It is a group of six men in the video.


One Australian, who we appear to, who appears to be dead now, because


it his Shadrdra on the video. Crucially there are three British


men on the video speaking with clear British accents. One has that been


named as Nassa Matana, he's a 20-year-old medical student, no


question that he's from a relatively privileged background or at least he


had opportunities. It is true to say in the late 1990s and early 20000s


many who embraced Jihad could have been said to have had disadvantaged


lives, not this young man it seems. His father spoke tonight, we will


hear a club. He has gone without telling me he is going, disappeared.


When I saw it on the television I was thinking what is he doing there?


Disbelief on the part of the father there. Do we know how many young men


have gone? Well that has been changing over the last 12 months.


When I first started investigating this a year ago the figure was in


the low hundreds. Recently it went up to 400, now security sources are


saying that it is more than 400, perhaps. Getting towards the 500


figure, although I understand it is still lower than 500. But it is


important to say though that half of those people, minus the people who


have been killed in Syria, have come back to the UK. So we could be


talking about 200 people who have been in Syria and now back in the


UK. Is this an important part of what ISIS are doing, does this


factor into the prosession they are making? Obviously ISIS has had a


huge propaganda coup in recent days in Iraq. Expanding into Iraq. There


is some question though whether they are redeploying from Syria. Security


forces are telling us there is no evidence so far they are redeploying


from Syria to Iraq. It must be remembered that ISIS was active in


Iraq for quite a few months. So there is no evidence at the moment


they are moving from Syria to Iraq. But of course that is the


aspiration, the clue is in the title "Islamic state of Iraq and AlSham"


clearly that is the aspiration. As we have seen the wars are being


fought virally as much as on the ground. In ten days of sectarian


violence in Iraq, one image has provided users of Facebook with a


more positive outlook. It is a Sunni mum and Shia dad and a young girl


shoaleding up the card saying "I am sushi", the image is neat but the


background is chaos. Is Iraq on an irreversible journey towards


separation or can it be pulled back from the brink. My guest joins me


now. It is a very positive image when you see the family united, but


the bitter truth is this sectarianism is creating bloodshed?


This image is so important and resonated with so many people. It


shows there is another side of Iraq. I think people forget that even


until now there are lots of families that actually consist of


intermarriages, and this has been going on for decades. You know going


back my grandmother was Sunni, my grandfather was Shia, and in the


past it was very common actually for urban, middle-class bagdaddies or


other urban Iraqis to be in mixed marriages. When my father grew up in


Iraq he didn't even know whether his neighbours or brands from Sunni or


Shia. This has changed, what we are often forgetting in the west is


there is still a sense of Iraqi-ness and Iraqi national identity. This


picture, I'm not sure it is even an Iraqi family. When I saw it I


thought it might not be an Iraqi family. But it doesn't marks it is


the idea that counts. It is very interesting, you keep returning to


this phrase "the idea that counts", but is there still an Iraqi-ness,


what happens at the moment when you see the division that is happening


now? I personally think and lots of my Iraqi friends and people who I'm


in contact with in Iraq, family and colleagues, still believe in an


Iraqi-ness, but they are very worried, of course that ISIS is


going to contribute to an even greater fragmentation. Not evenies


circumstance we can't just put -- not even ISIS, we can't just put it


on there, but the Government. I'm worried if there is western


intervention, in the form of US military intervention, that will


increase sectarianism in Iraq. When you look at something like the video


that Richard was just talking about there, and you see this appeal, to


young men here and in other parts of the world what do you think? I mean


I find it very scary. In some Oasisies is the continuation of


Al-Qaeda, that was never just an organisation it was an idea. This is


the next stage. In many ways this extremism was very much increased


due to Afghanistan and Iraq. I think it would be a very big mistake for


western military intervention, I think that would make it worse, but


at the same time I think we should also not turn a blind eye to what is


happening at home. What is happening in terms of Muslim communities, why


is it that there is this big gap between older generations and


younger generations of men. What should the west's response be to


something like the video. The Home Office is trying to shut it down now


or talk to internet providers to shut it down, what do you think? It


is always a question do you shut something down. I think it is I


personally say shut it down, but don't just shut it down, have a


debate and discussion. Also on the level of short of local communities


try to engage. Why is it that so many young British men who grew up


here feel alienated. One of whom a medical student from a fairly


privileged family? Yeah, I think there are problems that link to


wider British society policies, but also are within Muslim communities,


I think, we need to look at what is happening within the mosques and in


terms of generations, who are the community leaders, often older men


who don't represent younger men and women, that is also a big problem.


They have been in power less than a month before Iain Duncan Smith


declared welfare dependency absurd and vowed to cut those parked on


benefits. Thus welfare reform became one of the big set pieces of


coalition Government intended not only to change culture but to cut


back a multi-headed hydra of public spending. How is that going four


years on. Today the Public Accounts Committee said the Personal


Independence Payment a fiasco and universal payment fraught. The


self-imposed welfare cap may have to be broken by the Government. Some


call it spectacular ambition, matched only by spectacular


incompetence. Is that fair? I have suspended your claim as there is a


change in your income... Beyond the sensational documentaries and


tabloid headlines, what is really going on with our welfare system.


This Government has made welfare reform a key priority. We had a


welfare system that did not reward people who chose to work, people


knew they were better off unemployed and that is tragedy, it didn't give


poorer people a chance to get on in life and get out of poverty. We had


a system of helping people back to work that wasn't effective,


programmes all over the place, lack of innovation and creativity. People


need the skills and training too, that is the second reason, and


thirdly we weren't ambitious enough for welfare claimants. Not since the


Beveridge report has the Government attempted such sweeping reforms. The


report aimed to eliminate the five so called giants, squalor,


ignorance, want, idleness and disease. This Government have added


a sixth giant, cost. In real terms the working age Welfare Bill rose


from 2010-2012 as economic growth was weak and inflation high. It has


fallen since and it is projected to be broadly flat over the coming


years. Welfare reform is about more than just saving money. One major


aim of the Government is to increase work incentives and get more people


into employment. I have been in and out of prison basically for the last


ten years. I came from a broken home, mum died when I was very


young, got into the gang life, didn't think there was any turning


around, turning it around and on my last sentence I grew up a bit, got


introduced to the work programme. That has changed my life. I know it


sounds a cliche but it has. I'm working every day in a job I really


enjoy doing. Sol believe the Government has taken on too much.


The Government is trying to reform disability benefits, introduce the


new Universal Credit and reform the system of support for the long-term


unemployed. All at the same time. Doing one of them would have been


ambitious, doing all three at once is frankly biting off more than they


could chew and the result has been quite significant failures. What


Beveridge called idleness we would see as unemployment and economic


inactivity. Long-term unemployment trebled between 2005-2013 but has


since started to come down. However it is still well above prerecession


levels. The picture for economic inactivity, that is those not in


work but not actively looking for it either is very different. It has


fallen by almost 400,000 in the last two years. Whether you are looking


at the impact on the labour market or how much is being saved, it is


difficult to separate out the effects of the Government's reforms


from what was happening in the wider economy. Structural changes in the


labour market take time to have an impact, you can't judge the success


in real time. Four years might seem like a political eternity, but


economically it is still too early to tell. For some people affected by


the changes, it isn't too early to judge success. I have got a degree,


I'm a qualified teacher, therefore if I'm having difficulty how is


everybody else coping with this. I got so stressed that I can't


honestly say it caused me to go into a mental hospital, but the stress


that it was causing me about getting the forms done and right certainly


was a contributory factor so that when something else happened I was


not in the right frame of mind and ended up with three weeks in a


mental hospital after attempting to commit suicide. Whoever wins the


next election, it is likely we will see further reform. Privately I


think there is a lot of cross-party support for welfare reform, even


Labour MPs privately will tell you they understand why it is happening.


The debate has been one in principle and now it is on the operational


rollout and implementation. Of course things have been slightly


slow at times and frustration with certain programmes. Welfare reform


has been one of the most controversial issues to face this


parliament. Tight public finances means it will continue into the


next. A stronger economy should help keep the lid on welfare costs. But


any attempt to cut rather than just contain the bill will put even more


pressure on to the system. The political argument around welfare


has produced more heat than light. Behind the headlines, the rhetoric


and the statistics are thousands of human stories.


My guest sits on David Cameron's policy board in Downing Street, and


we have the author of Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class.


What is there to disagree with the reforms, tackling dependency and the


bill behind T On their own terms they failed. On the principle of it?


On the principle they are not dealing with the root causes of


social security spending going up. Let's separate what social security


is, the bulk of it goes on elderly people, people who have paid in all


their lives. Still too many of them hide choosing between heating their


homes. This is a key point, this Government often talk about welfare


spending spiralling out of control. Most of that is going on elderly


people. In terms of the key drivers of social security spending going


up, it is to do with low wages because you are talking about


Beveridge's original idea of the welfare state, it is subsidising low


wages in the economy, over one million workers have been driven


into poverty wages since this Government came into power. Now that


actually puts pressure on all of us, what that does is drive up the costs


of in-work benefits. Let me read you, from the IDS speech of 2010, he


said 1. 4 million people have been out of work on those benefits for


nine out of the last ten years, working age poverty has flat lined,


income inequality is the highest since records began. Are those


problems that need tackling by looking at welfare dependency? When


we talk about welfare dependency, what is missing is the lack of


secure jobs, I will tell you why. Nearly half of people who claim


jobseeker's allowance did so less than six months after. That is a


cycle of benefit and unemployment. That is why we need an industrial


strategy, like in Germany, creating secure jobs, particularly in


renewable energy, we need a housing programme to build housing, creating


jobs, and other policies like a national insulation scheme which


would create jobs, we don't have that. You have heard the criticism,


are you happy with the speed of success? I think it is right to make


sure the implementation is done carefully. You look at for example


the Universal Credit, we're rolling it out, we are going to by the end


of 2014 have it in 90 job centres, that is one in eight around the


country. Owen conflates pensions, I actually think we did the right


thing under the last Labour Government they went up by a


derisory 75p, we have said 2. 5% or inflation. I think that's a really


good thing to do. We are having a flat rate pension higher than the


basic. Let's go back to the point about the roll out of the reforms.


It is right to be careful, it is right to roll them out step by step


on Universal Credit, do the same with the personal independence plan.


The Economist reckons at the current speed that Universal Credit will


take 600 years to reach the 5. 23 million people it is meant to serve,


is that being careful or a major, major problem? I don't think that is


what it will take. We are saying throughout 2014 it will reach 90 job


centres, by 2017 it will be fully rolled out. It is right to be


careful. So not the 600 years that is this estimate? I haven't seen


that piece of work so I can't comment. All I would say is the


important thing is not just to legislate these things. Labour tried


to reform disability living allowance, DLA, they said they would


do it and they shied away from it. Can I just say on its own terms all


of these are an abysmal fail arcs Employment Support Allowance,


reassessment, not only has had striped thousands of people from the


support that they need. Not only do 40% of people striped of their


benefits if they go on to appeal have them reinstated, it will cost


more money. Those costs are going up. Failure. The second point. The


second point? The reforms are working. Disability living allowance


to the personal independence payment, today attacked as a fiasco,


what you have had in that instance is terminally ill people not


getting, having to wait for weeks until they get their support. You


can return to that? That is scaremongering, terminally ill


people we are now making the process, and have already made the


process much more efficient and faster, the NAO say the reforms are


working so rereach our target. What about the man on the film who said


he was mentally ill because of the reforms? Those changes we have made


for terminally ill people the process is much more efficient. It


hasn't. It is three-times above the target. Ten days was our target, we


are very close to hitting our target on that. I would not accept that


sort of scaremongering. Let's talk about the facts. These are the


facts. Not all the Public Accounts Committee. They are not the facts.


They are. Deal with the Public Affairs Committee which say the


incompetence and a fiasco. I will deal with that, they were looking at


statistics that were out of date, the current numbers, the statistics


coming through is that we are meeting our targets. So you would


agree it was a fiasco and incompetent, but I think it isn't


more? They were dealing with statistics out of date. What would


you say about Labour's plans, we have heard this big announcement


from Ed Miliband over the last couple of days, and they are pretty


much signed up to the same thing as the Conservatives? They are not,


because they voted against every reform we have introduced. What they


have done, OK this is a real problem, since I finished my


A-levels which may surprise you was 11 years ago,-out unemployment has


doubled. That wasn't because people lacked training or have become lazy


and feckless, it is because of lack of secure jobs in the economy. The


problem with what Labour are suggesting is because it is a


gimmick, training without secure jobs at the end. We already have a


situation where a third of graduates are doing non-graduate work. That


speaks of however educated people are the jobs aren't there. You are


saying they couldn't possibly be succeeding in this term any way? Of


course not. They are playing the Tory game in the sense of fuelling


stigmaisation, and actualing the sense that people are unemployed


because they are feckless. We're talking about solutions, that is to


rebuild the secure jobs in the economy. Even if you look away from


the dependency culture, the Welfare Bill hasn't come down, even on


purely economic terms it hasn't worked? As you saw in your charts


the Welfare Bill is about ?94 billion. This isn't about money it


is about getting people out of the trap of poverty. Let me tell you


Owen, before you throw outrage. I have been on benefits I have been on


housing benefit. So have I. My mother had to pawn her wedding ring


to put food on the table. I will take no lectures on that. People


trapped on welfare that is the real crime that is what Iain Duncan


Smith. Having a living wage, build housing. Thank you for coming. Fidel


Castro, revolutionary, communist, the former leader's image is that of


exemplary and frugal leader. His body says it is a sham. In his


explosive book he contends that the vast majority of Cubans were unaware


that he enjoyed a lifestyle beyond the dreams of many Cubans and beyond


the sacrifices he demanded of them. He lived like a king with a yacht


and Caribbean island getaway. We caught up


and Caribbean island getaway. We Paris. For decades he travelled the


world and met its leaders, Fidel Castro was a major target. In danger


from the CIA's dirty tricks department, and from all the Cuban


exiles who wanted him dead. And for 17 years this man protected Fidel.


He was intensely loyal and a total believer in Castro and Castroism.


Then, 20 years ago his brother defected to the US. For the Cuban


authorities that made him a serious risk. He lost his job and in 1994


was thrown in jail. But eventually escaped and made his way to Florida.


Tell me what it was like being with Fidel Castro. What kind of person is


he. What did you feel like when you were with him? TRANSLATION: I would


say Fidel had a double life, that is a side I saw of him. Fidel Castro


had a public image of a modest and simple unassuming person, and even


he affable, but in his private life Fidel was something quite different.


His private life was always kept as a state secret in Cuba. So he has


gone from being a worshipper of Castro, willing to lay down his life


for him, to hating him and thinking he's a phoney. Hence his book The


Secret Life of Fidel Castro. In his he aduces him of being a


multi-millionaire, owning 20 houses, a getaway island and various yachts.


These are all accusations Castro has faced before and he and his


officials strongly deny every one of them. He maintains as leader he


lived on his official salary, $36 US dollars a month. TRANSLATION: What


we have tried to do in the book is to prove and demonstrate to the


public that Fidel is a man with possessions like that of no other


Cuban today. Cubans can't even dream of that. No other person in Cuba has


a private Marina with four yachts, two fishing vessels and more than


100 men to look after that exclusive Marina for Fidel Castro's personal


use. Sanchez was still Fidel's bodyguard when I went to Cuba for


Newsnight back in February 1993. You can see him in the crowd behind the


great man, just before I call out my question. Castro, whose formal


speeches used to last seven hours took over 20 minutes to answer me.


From the crowd of journalists I asked him about the complaints of so


many Cubans about the conditions of their lives here? We weren't the


usual type of politician who is try to fool the people he said, we tell


the truth, we explain the great difficulties... The most serious


allegations Sanchez makes is that Castro gave protection to a known


drug smuggler. Although he doesn't suggest that Castro benefitted from


this financially. TRANSLATION: In 1989 I overheard a conversation


between Fidel Castro and the then Interior Minister through some


headphones connected to the microphones in Fidel's office. The


minister was briefing Fidel on drug trafficking deals. That was the


moment when Fidel stopped being my idol. To me he was the greatest


thing, he was the man for whom I was ready to die, I was willing to die


if Fidel was attacked. But from that moment I decided to find a way out


because I could not come to terms with the fact that I was protecting


a man who had publicly denied any involvement in drug trafficking.


That shocked me. He had this strange group of people that he liked, aside


from eastern European dictators and others, he also used to invite


Barbara Walters, the American television personality to his secret


island, didn't he? TRANSLATION: One of the fundamental features of


Fidel's personally that I witnessed was his great ability to manipulate.


He not only manipulated me, a member of his personal guard, but he also


manipulated Presidents and personalities from writers to


economists and that's one of his characteristics. Together with that


there is another feature, which is his very opportunistic, he knows how


to find the exact moment to achieve what he wants when he wants it. Will


communism in Cuba survive Fidel Castro, Raul Castro, or when they go


will it go also? TRANSLATION: Well I think the real problems in Cuba will


start when Fidel dies. Most of the difficulties will appear then. Raul


lacks Fidel's qualities. Fidel is an intelligent person, charismatic,


some people consider themselves to be Fidelisttas and he has the


support and loyalty of the people. Raul, on the other hand, is not half


as intelligent as Fidel, he doesn't have his charisma and of course he


doesn't have as many people in Cuba who would follow him when that time


comes. But not even Sanchez suggests that Castro throws Berlusconi-like


bunga-bunga parties, and he's certainly not another Colonel


Gadaffi with depraved appetites and grotesques ways of life. Instead he


emerges from the book as a long serving boss of a family firm,


inclined to treat the business as his own property. Yet even this will


be shocking to Cubans, who, for more than 50 years have tended to see him


as one of themselves, a genuine revolutionary with simple tastes.


This is basically Juan Sanchez's revenge, once he would have gladly


taken a bullet for Fidel, now he just wants to destroy him. The Cuban


Foreign Ministry have not yet replied to our request for a


response to that interview. That's nearly all for this week, early this


evening Italy weren't nearly as good as England made them look. We will


leave but the brilliance of John Motson and his latest historical gem


about the tournament. Have a great weekend. It was the World Cup


contest where global politics rather than football tactics dominated the


pre-match discussions. Iran against the USA in 8, very much depending on


your perspective, the terror state versus the great Satan. The


President of the United States Soccer Federation called the game


the mother of all matches and the build up to the most political


charged match in history was dominated by diplomatic and security


concerns. On the pitch, however, civility and sportsmanship broke


out. So much so that a year later a friendly was arranged, where


diplomacy failed, football was making a start. On that day in June


1998, soccer-mad 11-year-old Stephen Beeitashour was one of many


watching, he went on to play in America's league and selected for


the USA national squad. But Stephen's loyalties were divided


between the country where he was born and grown up and that of his


parents, Iran. And so Beeitashour, on the verge of a breakthrough from


the USA national squad to the first 11 had a choice to make. And just as


in that famous gain of 1998 Iran won the game. With Beeitashour making


his international debut in October of last year. Now he's at the World


Cup and a repeat of the fixture and the chance for the boy from San Jose


to face off against the USA can come in the quarter finals at the


earliest, further than Iran has ever got before. And that really would be


the mother of all matches all over again.


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