15/12/2016 Newsnight


In-depth investigation with Evan Davis. How should journalists treat stolen information in the era of state hacking? Plus the latest on the Aleppo evacuation.

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He says history is being written today by every citizen of Syria.


But what kind of gruesome history is it?


At last, there is peace in eastern Aleppo, or what's left of it.


But the Syrian war is far from over, unless politics can intervene.


In the meantime, rebels are being evacuated to another enclave,


which could be the scene of the next battle.


And as people leave Aleppo, we'll talk to this doctor


who's on his way back the region to help the injured.


Also tonight: The new geopolitical weapon - hacking.


I believe the leak was a large part of why Hillary had real problems


with him enyams and why she did not hit her targets in the states trump


won. Could it have been the difference? Absolutely.


Well, we have to be very careful of this 1930s comparison.


The fact is, it's the only history that's taught in our schools.


One of the reasons everyone's mentioning it


is because it's the only history anyone knows anymore.


Where does history tell us we may be heading?


When the world looks back on the last 17 days of horror that


eastern Aleppo has just endured, it will undoubtedly wonder how


the brutality of medieval warfare could have imposed itself


Why did the two mechanisms of world authority -


the United Nations and the United States - both fail?


And how could the battle have gone on so long once one side


These are interesting questions, but today, at least,


there are more hopeful images from Aleppo than we've


Let's have a look at four scenes that tell the story of today.


First, the Syrian flag being raised over eastern Aleppo.


Let's not forget, this is the day that Assad hailed


what he called Aleppo's liberation as an historic event.


Second, the buses on their way to evacuate civilians,


rebels and their families from the remaining rebel-held


Meanwhile, overhead, Putin is watching.


This is footage of the buses today from the Russian Defence Ministry.


And finally, civilians waiting to move back into East Aleppo.


The children are chanting in praise of Assad -


a useful reminder that not all Syrians are anti-Government.


It was not a day for joy, but it was one of relief.


Now the professional journalists have had difficulty in getting


access to Eastern Aleppo, but the shelling there has been


vividly reported thanks to smartphones and social media.


And if that's been true of the attack on Aleppo,


The skies are clear, the birds chirping and people are leaving


besieged Aleppo and I'm hoping that I will be doing the same thing.


Dr Zaher Sahloul is from the Syrian American Medical Society


and is part of a medical convoy heading to the country this weekend


to help build a hospital to treat those injured


How much contact have you had today with the people there in terms of


how the evacuation has been going? I was fixated on my cellphone looking


at the reports and texts coming from my colleagues inside Aleppo. These


are the doctors and nurses I spent my last medical commission with


right before the siege. And they were updating me about the


evacuation process and I had a sigh of relief that it happened without


hiccups this time. Relatively smooth. When you get back there,


there will be a generation of children deeply scarred by what


they've been through. Every child I've seen in Aleppo, even before


these last few months, was scarred. They have been under siege, they


have shortage of food, medicine, there is no schooling, there is


bombing and every one of them will have trauma deep in planted in their


psyche for the rest of their lives. And physically disabled as well?


Yes, and this is a problem Syria has to live with in the long term. We


saw the child motionless in the ambulance. How quickly do you think


those kids will recover? It will take a generation or more for them


to recover. Syria does not have the capacity to deal with the cycle --


psychological impact of the crisis. We also have a large number of


people injured because the amputations and spinal cord injuries


in Syria. It will take a look of effort and let's not forget that we


have 50% of the refugees outside Syria who are children. -- a lot of


effort. Do you ever reflect on how the human race could do better in


solving these disputes? Iowa to reflect on the fact that the


president of Syria was trained to be a doctor and he is overseeing the


destruction of many cities in his country, displacement of Hop


population, the injury of one and a half million people. -- his


population. The day that Nero burned Rome, the emperor, that was a


historic day. It is a historic day when you have a president trained to


be a physician overseeing the killing of 350 hospitals and the


killing of doctors and nurses in Syria. I was at school with him and


nobody expected him to be that brutal always was. Have you met with


him since? Yes. I asked him about introducing democracy in Syria and


he said they are not ready for democracy, Syrians. You never, ever


see a clue as to what horror can be inflicted by him from the kid you


knew at school? No. Many of us believe he is a war criminal and any


person who believes in the stability of Syria, they don't perceive him as


being part of the picture of the future of Syria. Do you think it


took too long for the point of surrender to be reached in eastern


Aleppo? Definitely. It was over weeks ago. They couldn't win from


that position. And of course there was a lot of suffering in the last


days as they held out. Definitely. Everybody knew this was happening.


What is the surprise is that the international community and Nato and


the United Nations did not intervene earlier. The evacuation of 250,000


people from their homes and neighbourhoods happening now, this


is what is called ethnic cleansing, forced evacuation, and this is a


tragedy we have to live with for the foreseeable future. It is obviously


a tragedy. The scary prospect is that you will get the same thing


again in the place people have moved to. How can that... I mean, what is


happening here? How is it saying to move people from one enclave to


another where they can be pummelled again? Everything happening in Syria


is that history is rewritten and the use of chemical weapons, more than


168 times, the use of siege as a tactic of war, on both sides. What


happened in Aleppo happened in the city of Homs, as well as other


cities before. Killing children, bombing hospitals. These are the new


norms in Syria. It is dangerous not only for Syrians but for refugees.


The rise of the extreme West, sorry, right. And the terrorism we are


witnessing is all what is happening in Syria. You are going back to


what? Under whose auspices do you go back and build a hospital? Under the


Syrian government? You will be in their region now. The NGOs have been


part of the solution and they are the hope Syrians are looking for.


There is a British NGO and representatives, and they are going


symbolically to build a hospital that was destroyed. This is our


statement to tell the doctors of Syria we are with them, we are


standing up with them, and this is also to say, shame on you, you did


not stop the genocide in Syria but we will do our part and we will be


the ones we're building the country after it has been destroyed. Thank


you. The news yesterday that Yahoo had,


without noticing, been robbed of data on a billion users capped


a year in which hacking has rarely The idea that the Russians might


try to steal emails in order to discredit a candidate


in an American election would have Now it's what intelligence services


think actually happened. It's a development with all sorts


of implications, not least the questions it raises


for journalists about how Newsnight's editor Ian Katz,


who was involved in covering some of the biggest leaks of recent


years, dusted off his Our digital world is frighteningly


leaky. The medical records of top athletes, the internal debates of a


presidential campaign, scarcely a month goes by without some new cache


of sensitive data being thrown into the harsh glare of public scrutiny.


And, increasingly, it is states who are putting them there. It's a new


kind of information war. One that challenges the very idea of what


pre-assy means in a digital world. And one that poses new and difficult


questions for journalists. The President earlier this week


instructed the intelligence community to conduct a full review


of the pattern of malicious cyber activity related to our presidential


election cycle. An election full of twists has saved one of its most


breathtaking till last. A President-Elect is locked in a


stand-off with the CIA over whether Russia mounted a hacking campaign to


help put him in the White House. I think it's ridiculous. WikiLeaks


today released a brand new batch of hacked e-mail. Mira served as a


close aide to Hillary Clinton and was a confidante of John Pedester


who's hacked emails were leaked daily during the last weeks of


campaign. As the emails were leaked there were a string of awkward


headlines. Do we actually know who told Hillary she could use a private


e-mail and has that person been drawn and quartered? I was watching


TV. There was one of my emails on TV. The next day, a Twitter storm


developed because of something I'd said. It was just like, it became a


daily humiliation. Just ever-present terrible experience. It became one


where every morning I'd have to brace myself for some new e-mail


coming out in which I'd have to apologise to somebody or mostly deal


with people ruffling through your most private thoughts and sticking


them on the internet. It was the worst experience I've ever had


professionally. Whatever the precise intention of those behind the hack,


it. Anden has little doubt about its impacted. I believe the leak was a


large part of why Hillary had real problems with Millenials, which is


why she did not hit her targets in the three states Trump won. Could it


have been the difference? Absolutely. People have to live with


that. There's nothing new about states hacking system of other


states for commercial information and security secrets. And nothing


new about getting hold of embarrassing information to


discredit them. The Russians even have a word for it. What the latest


attacks have done is bring together these two tactics to create a new


one, the data leak has been weaponised. So, the from e-mail at


first glance looks like Google security. If you go into the text


behind the e-mail, you can see it's send from a Yandex e-mail account.


That's a Russian free mail web service. Tony is a former Pentagon


analysts who spends her time identifying new online threats. The


so-called spear fish Mel which caught out John Pedester was a scam


all e-mail users are familiar with. But it bore the digital fingerprints


of a hacking group linked to Russian intelligence. There's a brazenness


in the attacks we've seen this year that is has been surprising. The


Russians don't seem to care that this activity is being attributed to


them. There's also a meanness to it. They're willing to dump a tremendous


amount of personal and private information as part of these


attacks. These attacks have been attributed by the US Government as


something shared by the number of companies in the private sector.


Where does this leave reporters and editors who avenue always had to


think carefully about a source's motives. Five years ago I


collaborated with WikiLeaks to publish stories of thousands of


leaked US cables. Some criticised but few doubted the motivation of


the person who leaked them. Bradley, now Chelsea manning, was so


convinced she had to expose what she considered to be an abuse of power,


she was prepared to go to jail for it. But how should news


organisations behave when they're effectively handed thrives of


confidential information by foreign states with transpartent --


transparent motives. Some say we're becoming useful idiots when we


publish damaging stories a hostile Government wants us to. What's to


become of a cycling super hero? We questioned with that on Newsnight


earlier this year. We ran a series of stories based on the medical


files of top athletes, files we were pretty sure had been hack hacked by


the Russians. It felt uneasy giving Moscow just what it wanted. But the


public interests in examining if one of Britain's sporting here rows had


broken the spirit of the rules if not the rules themselves was clear.


Not all the revelations in these leaks are quite as significant.


Thanks to Russian hackers, and a little help from chief stirrer


Julian Assange, I can now make a pretty pass able risotto. As John


Pedester said, it is all about adding the stock slowly. I also know


this time, thanks to the north Korean yaps, that Tom Hanks uses the


ail ya Johnny Madrid and Scot Ruden thinks Angelina Joel ary is a minute


imalley talented spoilt brat. The question is, have we become too


willing to serve up every tasty morsel provided by the hackers?


Perhaps, unsurprisingly, some of those who've seen their own private


communications sprayed across the internet, think it is. You have a


quote from someone about somebody else. Under the veneer of


journalism, reporters were totally trafficking in gossip. That's what


they were doing. The New York Times has run a string of stories this


year based on the Pedester emails and, before that, material hacked


from the democratic national committee. I asked the paper's


editor if the thought he might be doing Vladimir Putin's bidding keeps


him up at night? Sure it does. But it would keep me up at nice worse,


or at least longer, if I had information from a hack that I knew


was accurate that voters and citizens needed to know and I'm not


publishing because maybe it came from the Russians. I can't imagine a


slipperier slope than that. At what point is my safe at home filled with


information I can't report because I'm nervous about the source. If


someone had brought you a carton of papers, actual hard paper papers and


you knew for certain those were burgled from John Pedester's home,


would you treat those the same as a caceh of emails? That's a good and


hard question I've not had to confront yet. I would go through it.


If it was really significant and important, I would publish it. It


would make me nervous. I would admit to people how we got it. But I think


the information Trumps all. There's a powerful argument it doesn't


really matter how organisations like the New York Times and the BBC hack


material because in the Wild West of the internet, there'll always be


someone willing to publish. Some argue we should just accept there's


no such thing a prove assy in our digital lives. One high profile


victim of a major hack told me he communicates about all sensitive


matters by fax or phone. Kieran Martin is the man charged with


defending Britain against cyber attack. He's about to step out of


the shadows of GCHQ to lead the new cybersecurity centre. He told me


measures were taken to protect the British election from hackers but


there is a danger the recent US experience will inspire Ore tackers.


There are all sorts of threats from state cyber attackers. Threats to


critical national systems. Threats to our economic well-being through


commercial espionage. There may be a perception now this is a successful


model for intervention in societies such as ours and our allies and


that's something we need to be prepared to deal with. He insists


we're a long way from giving up on the idea of prove assy. Stealing


information for political, financial purposes is as old as human activity


itself. The digital world gives people an opportunity to do that on


a different scale. There's plenty to do to defend ourselves. We need a


demystify ourselves. If we wrap the problem in a shroud of mystique.


People eh people sitting at computers in far away places that


cannot be contested that is an incressbly damaging attitude to


take. Perhaps one detail of the US hacking story embodied the very


human vulnerability Martin and his counterparts can do little about.


When John Pedester received his mail, an aid and staffer replied


saying it was legitimate. It was a type owe. He meant to type


illegitimate. The course of mystery perhaps changed by two missing


letters. There an extended interview on


hacking on the Newsnight YouTube channel.


It'll be our last programme tomorrow,


There's always a tendency to think the moment we're living in


but this year has surely been dizzyingly interesting.


What's the right frame to view it through?


But first, how will historians look back on it?


We like to be first with the news, so I've been speaking to three,


to get an early draft on the year that was, in its own way,


President-Elect of the United States of America, Donald Trump.


The year could be remembered for lots of things.


The British people have made a very clear decision


Well, Lenin said there are decades when nothing happens


It was the year that globalisation went into reverse.


And the nation state reasserted itself


After decades of walls coming down...


..it was the year of barriers going up.


A year that nationalism and naked tribalism


I also want to fight for the preservation of our own identity.


A year that traditional politics and its parties began to fall apart.


Owen, you know perfectly well what the answer is - I voted remain.


I'm very surprised and actually quite disappointed


that you should even raise this question.


The year the truth became stretched


You bragged that you've sexually assaulted women.


I don't think you understood what was said.


Whether you like him or not, and I don't,


he is clearly an incredibly talented 21st-century communicator.


People will expect that from their leaders after 2016.


For me, 2016 has been something of a blur.


Not just a sense of events overtaking us.


they've just been rather important ones.


More a sense of assumptions changing.


For many, it's disorienting and they reach out for historical parallels.


Some reassuring ones or some obvious and rather dark ones.


The most commonly cited comparator is the 1930s.


You have outsider parties or outsider movements that arrive on


the political scene saying, we're not the same as other people,


that are not working for ordinary people.


That becomes enormously seductive to people who


do feel they've been left behind or their voices are disregarded.


It wasn't just the Nazis - Italy, Spain all had their fascists too.


There was Oswald Moseley in the UK and the


left-wing populist Huey Long over in the US.


Those outsider parties have been relatively contained in Western


democracies since the end of the Second World War.


And they're here and we're very worried about them.


The '30s can also be remembered for a US-led


adding to the disintegration of international co-operation.


But I also think issues are very tricky at


the moment in terms of the breakdown of what have been very, very secure


Especially the EU, Nato, for all its faults.


And these seem to be under great pressure.


If you lose the structures of international collaboration,


such as they are, which allow people to think collectively


or to think internationally, then, it is lost.


internationalists were very, very difficult to find.


VOICE-OVER: A vast pro-Nazi gathering,


carrying on the pro-Nazi campaign of back to Germany.


But historians are never keen on glib comparisons,


By reaching for the most familiar piece of history,


We have to be very careful of this 1930s comparisons.


The fact is, it's the only history taught in our schools.


It's the only history anyone knows anymore.


There are no militarised paramilitary organisations as there


were in the 1930s, that really characterised 1930s.


There aren't Stormtroopers or Blackshirts.


This is, in many ways, the working of democracy.


The working of democracy in the sense that?


One of the great things about democracy is it reflects


And they can make changes, radical changes,


without having to turn to revolutionary violence.


One of the roles of the media has to be not to


indulge in hyperbolic Hitler-spotting.


Perhaps then the year should be seen as one in which the elite were


overthrown. I don't think it's so much the 1930s. Perhaps the 1830s is


a better one. Then you have the Chancellor of Austria, the prince,


and a group of like-minded monks and statesmen actually deciding what was


good for Europe for 30 or 40 or 50 years, and they believed, a bit like


the EU elite today, that they were absolutely right, there was no other


way but their way, and of course gradually bubbling under was


resistance to this, so maybe the 1830s instead of the 1930s. It's


hard to make sense of 2016. The end of one kind of order but we haven't


yet seen the construction of a new one.


Two or three times you get a junction in the court -- course of


history. And we had one. In the confusion of different directions.


And that explains many of the contradictions we are seeing. Donald


Trump getting the support of Americans are -- American


Conservatives even though he's not a Conservative. He's an


interventionist. Brexit. A vote against globalisation, and yet the


Brexiteers say that we are going to become a beacon of global free


trade. We all are over the place and a complete mess.


So perhaps there are useful parallels to be drawn between the


messy upsets that come along every now and then in the form of


revolutions. Lenin definitely would have recognised this as a


revolutionary moment and he would have found a way of seizing on it.


Revolutions happen when assumptions that generations have had for very


long periods have broken down and people no longer believe in them. We


are seeing that very much in 2016. Russia, of course, had two


revolutions in 1917. One overthrew the Czar and the odd assumptions. It


was the second, months later, that saw an opportunistic Lenin grabbed


power. He promised people everything and anything. He lied unashamedly.


He identified a scapegoat that he could then blame for everything. He


used the word "Elite" a lot. He said people had heard too much from


experts. One feature of the current situation is not that events are


just unpredictable, but that you can get perverse outcomes. Democracy has


its foibles and the public can get things that perhaps they never


really intended. You can have a binary vote, very evenly matched,


but then that leads to quite an extreme outcome. Public preferences


are quite complicated things. We all want the public to have their say


but the challenge is to reduce that down to something simple while


capturing some of the nuance, and to make sure that in the process the


public does get what it really wants.


Can the outcome sometimes be very perverse? That there is a sort of...


The intended outcome of the revolution is not where the


revolution ends up? Yes! One obvious one is the French Revolution. One of


the most famous of them all, when they wanted to get rid of a king and


ended up ten years later with an Emperor! Hitler was called to become


Chancellor in 1933 and at that time he was intended to be the puppet of


right wing Conservatives, and of course within weeks, he was out of


control. So there is an unintended consequence of a major, major sort.


1830s, 1917, 19 30s. Each history has something useful to say but none


can really tell us where 2016 will lead. I don't think you've had the


revolution yet, Evan. If the revolution is coming will know about


it. It won't just be two unexpected elections. This is not 1917. This is


the year democracy actually spoke. Comeback in 100 years and I'll tell


you about 2016! Mary Kaldor is from


the London School of Economics and John Fredricks is a Talk Radio


host and joins us from Virginia. Mary, do you find yourself at all


attracted to any comparisons to the 1930s, or are you Hitler-spotting if


you look for them? There are two comparisons. This sense of


foreboding. This sense we're in a phoney war and we haven't really


felt the effects of Brexit and Donald Trump. And that something bad


is going to happen. The other is this is all about the crisis of


political representation. What is really disturbing, which ask is what


happened in the thirties, is the way the opposition a caving in. You see


the opposition on Brexit in this country, is totally accepting


Brexit. Nobody is saying, look, we may have voted for Brexit but it's


really bad for us. Everyone is caving in on immigration. We can't


actually control immigration. If the opposition goes on and agrees to


talk about control of immigration, it just feeds of right-wing


discourse. And, more alarmingly, I think, it legitimises the growth of


hate crime. I'm really nervous about where it will lead. We won't be able


to control immigration. I think it could lead to really dangerous


racism and violence in the future. That's a pessimistic view. John


Fredricks. You're not in that camp. What do you think about people who


evoke the 1930s at this point? Even, first of all, thanks for having me.


Mary just gave you the view of the globalist elitist who don't really


understand what's going on across the world. First of all, this has


nothing to do with the 1930s movement towards fascism. That was


about nationalism. This is about Severnity and jobs. This is a


workers revolution. Has nothing to do with ethnicity or race. It is not


a revolution of nationalism, it's a work lash. This is about jobs.


People in various countries, they want their countries back. They've


seen their jobs shipped all over the globe because the elite, globalist


international gangsters bangster network has scoured the earth for


cheap labour and shipped their jobs everywhere or they've let I will


leaguals come in to take their jobs. This has nothing to do with anything


accept people wanting jobs. Let me tell you something, with all the


talk about whatever Mary was saying, the elitist gobble de gook you just


heard, let me tell you something, economic prosperity and jobs is the


great equaliser. The great unifier. A pay cheque has no ideology.


Putting... John, can I come in... Very briefly. You're saying it is an


anti-globalisation thing but it's not a nationalism thing? That's


quite a subtle distinction. What's the difference between wanting your


country back, making America grate again and being a nationalist?


Because it's not about America. It's about American jobs. OK. That's


good. This is a jobs revolution. OK. Mary? I completely agree that this


was an anguished vote of those left behind by globalisation. But the


answer to that cannot be nationalism. The answer has to be in


Terre nationalism. It has to be dealing with those multinational


corporations and taxing their safe havens which is what the European


Union does. Regulating financial speculation. If we really want big


programmes of sub lick spending in a globalised world, we can only do it


through institutions like the European Union. And, so to argue


this is an answer to the problem is crazy. Look, can I suggest what this


year has been is a collapse of left/right dichotomy. What we have


now represented here in this discussion is a new dichotomy. Open


to the world. International collaboration is the solution to the


nation state being the answer to the world's problems. John, you're


basically, it's not really a right-wing or left-wing thing


anymore. I can't place Donald Trump. He's an interventionists difficult


to place. We know where he stands on the national versus globalism


spectrum. Is that fair as to where politics as moved, John? Evan,


you're right. This is a transformational president.


President-elect trump is transforming the hub can party in


America. The real bottom line to this is, I disagree with Mary on


this, Mary, what this whole movement is about across the globe, both in


the UK and France, just happened in the United States, is people want


their countries back but it's not a movement of nationalism. It's a


movement of protecting jobs. The international bankster network


scours the earth for cheap slave labour in order to cut out workers


that make a decent wage. When you get down to it, this whole argument,


everything that's happening, the reaction is to the globalist search


for cheap slave labour and they cut out the jobs of people in those


sovereign nations. So, I want to stop this. Get my jobs back. Mary, I


think of you as a liberal left-leaning person. John is


sounding so much more left-wing than you do. Almost a Marxist, this is a


capitalist not almost to drive wages down? I don't disagree with him


about globalisation. But I think globalisation has also brought huge


benefits. The problem is, we've had dramatic economic growth. But it's


only benefitted the rich. If we want, we can't go backwards on


globalisation. Globalisation is not just about multinational


corporations and free trade. It's about international communication.


It's about inter dependence. So, if we want to do anything about it, the


only way is by having a say. Taming it by international co-operation?


Yes. And, by the way, I want to add, it's rubbish to say it's not


nationalism. That stuff about making America great again, not allowing


Muslims into the United States, that is not just about jobs. That's pure


racism. I think we've lost John. At this point we need to stop anyway.


Mary, thank you. John, we might have lost the sound feed to you,


annoyingly. Your point was well made.


But before we go, we couldn't leave you without marking the 250th


They began life in the mid-1700s, when so-called "dissecting puzzles"


were handmade by cartographers to help teach children about maps,


and really took off at the turn of the last century after production


was sped up by the invention of a new mechanical saw known as -


An exhibition celebrating the puzzles opened today


at the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising in London.


Anyway, here's what a Newsnight jigsaw might look like.


We got our resident hand model to solve it for us.


Hello. Still no sign of anything particularly cold on the horizon. A


mild start to the day tomorrow. Rain for Northern Ireland pushing into


The latest on the Aleppo evacuation with Evan Davis.

How should journalists treat stolen information in the era of state hacking?

And just how momentous was 2016?

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