03/02/2017 Newsnight


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Kirsty Wark. Stories include new US sanctions on Iran and an interview with Margrethe Vestager.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 03/02/2017. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



President Trump has put Iran on notice after its


missile test with limited sanctions, so who is testing who?


And is this the beginning of the unravelling of President Obama's


I'll be speaking to a former Deputy Prime Minister of Iran.


We are able to manipulate YouTube videos in real-time.


Here we demonstrate our method in a live


Is new technology, which can put the wrong words in your mouth,


a giant leap for fake news and alternative facts?


How do we sort out the truth, half-truth, and lies?


Africa is no longer the colonial subject.


President Trump today announced his first sanctions


against Iran over its ballistic missile test on Sunday.


The new president has been a long-time critic


Trump tweeted that Iran is playing with fire.


They don't appreciate how "kind" President Obama was to them.


The US National Security Advisor said the administration


was putting Iran on notice, and then the Treasury department


announced sanctions against thirteen people and a dozen "entities".


Iran's Foreign Minister responded, also on Twitter, saying "Iran


unmoved by threats as we derive security from our people.


We will never initiate war, but we can only reply


Is this a harbinger of much worse to come like a handbrake turn on Iran


policy? In a sense it is unfinished business from the last months of the


Obama administration, these missiles, over 1000 mile range, not


very accurate, the general view of intelligence experts is that they


are being tested as nuclear delivery systems, that is counter to United


Nations agreements. Another problem is that some people connected with


these, the firing of warships by rebels in recent months, another


issue is that basically apart from one counterstrike against those


batteries President Obama kicked the can down the road. So emphasis


tonight from US officials is that this doesn't mean the end of the


nuclear agreement, it is a separate issue but we have to do something.


The Trump rhetoric is heavy but these are not, as you say,


heavy-duty sanctions. Well, here's the problem which is that President


Trump and his national security adviser Mike Flynn are very hard


line on Iran. So these aspects of sanctions about these two separate


issues which you might see is business as usual for the National


Security system in Washington are coming at a time when President


Trump has said all options are on the table now for Iran, Mike Flynn


has said they are on notice. The dangers of misperception, the


Iranians have said that they will carry on testing and President Trump


feeling he has drawn a red line, remember how he criticised President


Obama for not enforcing the red line of Assyria, he may feel he has to


defend it, the scope for sliding into conflict now is considerable, I


would say. Thank you very much. Mohsen Sazegara was the Iranians


Deputy Prime Minister in his late dash in the late 80s but became


disillusioned with the resume and is now a political activist based in


Washington, DC. These 25 persons and institutions, I


expected it because of an escalation of tensions between these countries.


It started from the White House three nights ago by Flynn and Trump,


both of them. Do you sense the Iranians pushing a little, nibbling


away at Donald Trump with this test on Sunday? I think that right now,


the top officials in Iran, the leader, I mean, and the


revolutionary guard, they are very cautious and they prefer not to


escalate the tension, and more than that, I think, they are waiting for


the results of the President's trip to Moscow to see what President


Putin can do for them, because they expect that President Putin can


reduce the tensions between Washington and Iran. It is not


necessarily to the advantage of Tehran to have Putin and Trump


close, is it? It is not to the benefit of one side, and to the


other side, if there are new sanctions against Putin and Russia,


if these are passed by the Congress, it shows that Putin can't solve his


own problem. So both sides are not good signals for Iran. Let's look


separately at the sanctions and also the visa restrictions, two separate


things. Your reaction to the Visa restrictions? Visa restrictions


definitely harms a big group of Iranians who live in the USA and


their families, relatives, travel, and helps the regime of Iran for its


own propaganda and mobilises people to support the regime. But the


sanctions against the Revolutionary guard, or the leader, and the


institutions, most of them are corrupt in Iran as well, I think


this is something else that the people of Iran may like. It is


interesting what you say because there is a strong entrepreneurial


community of American Iranians who do not like what is happening with


this visa. It looks as if President Trump is prepared to put up with


that in order to pursue this heavy policy on visas. He doesn't actually


care about the impact that will have on the attitudes of American


Iranians. By the way I am definitely against such type of restrictions


for Iranian citizens, or any sanction which harms all the people


of Iran. But I support the sanctions which are targeted and are smart


against the top officials and the people who abuse and violate human


rights. Is it your sense that President Trump is ad hoc or just


sounding like a hawk. -- hawk, or just sounding like a hawk? I feel


that sometimes he is unstable and I cannot rely on his stances, but the


guys that he has picked for his administration, they are hawks.


Especially with respect to Iran, they are too tough. Mohsen Sazegara,


thank you for joining us tonight. Should we trust our leaders to tell


the truth, and is there something materially different about truth


in the technological age? How do we gauge what's true,


half true, or false? In the past month, new phrases have


entered the political lexicon, in particular, "fake news"


and "alternative facts". But what if there's another,


explosive ingredient in this febrile mix - the ability,


literally, to manipulate the words Here's our technology


editor, David Grossman. How do we know that


something happened? That we are not being


fooled by fakes? Some TV trickery is


pretty familiar to us. This technology, green screen


or colour separation overlay, has been around in some


form for decades. It allows us to convincingly give


real people backdrops of virtual However, we are about to cross


the threshold into a new world where it is possible to convincingly


recreate known real people - famous people like politicians -


and have them say or do more We're a few years, but not many


years, away from a situation now where we can not only create


a pretty sort of realistic environment for people,


but we can also do things like manipulate their voices


and manipulate their facial expressions and modulate


their speech in real-time. Here we demonstrate our


method in a live setup. This is the Face 2 Face


Project, a collaboration between Stanford University,


the Max Planck Institute and the University


of Erlangen-Nuremberg. As we can see, we are able


to generate a realistic They can take the facial expressions


of one person and match them onto the features


of another in real-time. The results are already


amazing and only going It seems like they are being


developed out with a specific ethical framework that helped them


to actually assess before technologies are developed,


the actual implications The perfect environments for fake


news, for a widespread This hugely damaging image


of John Kerry supposedly sharing a stage with Vietnam protester


Jane Fonda was actually Now the company that


invented Photoshop, Adobe, has unveiled a new,


potentially game changing At this event in November,


Adobe demonstrated Voco, which, loaded with 20 minutes


of real sample voice, can then make someone


say anything just by typing it in. Adobe said the auyo audio will be


watermarked so that fakes are easy to spot but that may not


stop them spreading. Often the things we see as fake news


or false stories are actually very easily debunked


in a matter of seconds. But it doesn't necessarily stop


them from spreading, partly because I think


the mechanisms now are so quick in terms of how virality is created


online but also because people But is there a flip side


to this technology? If it makes the fake seem real,


what does it do to our perception Will it allow those


intent on deceiving us to dismiss cold, solid, hard video


evidence as mere trickery? It becomes a term that can be used


by anyone who wants to call out something that they don't


like, and spread doubt And when you have a high level


of distrust in stories, and you have a high level


of distrust in institutions, which we do at the moment,


then a term like fake news becomes almost meaningless, because it's


deployed in so many ways which actually describe


things that are perfectly We've grown more sophisticated


in our ability to discern However, accelerating technological


change means we'll need to quickly refine how we weigh the evidence


of our senses. We're joined now by Claire Wardle,


Research Director at First Draft News, which aims


to improve the standard of online reporting and the philosopher,


Simon Blackburn, who wrote Truth - Good evening to you both in London


and New York. Simon, is truth just about the most important thing? It


is very important in our day-to-day lives, our sensors are adapted to


telling us how the world around us is and if we don't know how the


world around us is we will not behave well in it. Give an example


of how senses are adapted. I'm pretty good at knowing of the bus is


bearing down on me and pretty good at not crossing the road if I can


see one bearing down on me. I would be much worse in life if I could not


see that was a bus bearing down on me so I need the truth about that


kind of thing and that is true of all kinds of ways I behave in my


environment. I need to know whether the food I am looking at is


poisonous, I need to be able to rely on various deliveries of sense,


sound, and of course trust in things that people tell me. But it was ever


thus. Is there a difference now as technology change things?


Communication has exploded so we get communications from very different


parts of the world, not just from our neighbours, our parents. Big


communications from media outlets, fake media outlets and so one.


Sifting what we are told, whether it is trustworthy, becomes much harder.


We cannot go behind the scenes. I cannot see what the truth is about


what Bush is saying if someone else shows me some bizarre things. In a


way, you make it your mission not to be a single sister but to find a way


in which we can engage the truth. Do you think the technology that has


just been explained in that film will make a huge difference? People


look at people's bases and think they can trust their eyes, trust


what they see, and it is false. Absolutely. In the same way that


photo editing software and video editing software is on a laptop,


anyone in the world can create visuals. Because of technology they


move at huge speed across the world. Our brains are adapted to trust


visuals more. As technology becomes easier and cheaper that is why we


have at this explosion of false information. I suppose the more


people there are checking to find out it is false. How do you get at


the truth? We are having lots of people talking about news literacy


projects and educating people to stop and check. We're looking at our


phones and scrolling quickly. Although we might know to be


critical, sometimes things that are too good to be true, it is very easy


to click share. We do not stop and check when we should do. Politicians


particularly through the centuries have all tried to manipulate the


truth one way or another at different times. In a sense, is it


not easy because you can sift through and make decisions yourself?


Is it not easier to get information to the access? As human beings, we


want information to make us feel better. We are in a polarised world.


You sit in groups of people you'd think are the same as you and you


want information to make you feel better. It is easier to double check


and Google something that does not necessarily mean we are doing that.


What will it do to us? I find it destabilising sometimes if I do not


know what is true and what is false. It is difficult to predict. If


technologies do proliferate in the way described and they become very


popular and everyone is using them, I should have thought one possible


reaction, my own reaction for example, would be in a sense to


retreat. That is very bad for democracy. If I say I am not going


to believe anything about President Trump, I do not believe anything


about Theresa May, that means I am retreating from my historic duties


as a citizen, which is to inform myself about policy and what these


people are offering. The advent of global communication could actually


signal a retreat. It could indeed. It is a rational response to a world


in which nothing is trustworthy. If you cannot trust anything, do not


believe anything. Do not act. That basis for action, does that come


from early education? Had you get a basis for action? Our senses tell us


how the world is. We are very good at using them put up relying on


other people, that is something you learn when they are trustworthy and


when they are not. Unless you can get some experience in both sides of


it, you're not going to be a fully performing, fully active adult. Does


that fill you with dread? I have to say, it is a pretty troubling time


over here in the US. We are seeing people retreat and say they are not


looking at the news. People are already starting to say I am


confused, worried and scared and I do worry about what that means. Is


this now about the loss of control? There are so much of people's lives


which are not in their control. It is another worrying aspect of modern


life. I think certainly people feel overwhelmed by technology does it


comes to them even when they are not ready for it. You see an update on


your phone about something you did not expect. People feel out of


control and overwhelmed. There is a huge proliferation. There used to be


big blocks of media you could do to four different things. You knew what


they did. There is a preferential of all sorts of websites. A lot of them


are in high resolution, high technology sites. They look very


ill. How you meant to know if they are real or false? You're not meant


to know. That is the point. There are very systematic campaign is now


to ensure people see the same messages. Over time we are seeing


networks of information and systematic campaign to try to


persuade people. It is very sophisticated. As much as we try to


teach people to be critical, a lot of these things are really easy to


fullback on. The people who benefit are dictators, people who manipulate


the news for their own ends. Absolutely. We can see, even within


Europe and the elections that are coming up with France, Germany and


the Netherlands without huge concerns about systematic campaigns


quit using social networks to change public opinion. That is definitely


what is on the cards. How do you counter that? Thank God for the BBC.


You looked at gold standard. Touch wood, we have the Times, the BBC.


ITV and our colleagues. Now, of course, how long that will remain


and whether indeed the BBC will, for example, remain Independent in the


way that Donald Trump has ensured virtually no State Department can be


Independent in the USA. That kind of dictatorship, that kind of change in


Democratic politics is very worrying. Then we really do lose our


morals. She told EU leaders she wanted


to build a "strong partnership" with the EU and pledged the UK


would be a "good friend This went down well


with Chancellor Merkel. Better than her relationship


with Donald Trump, After publishing the Brexit White


Paper this week, we have a decent idea of what the government wants


to get out if its negotiation. But what about those


on the other side? Or policy editor, Chris Cook, has


been speaking to the EU Competition Trying to find out why we still know


so little. I think it is important


that we leave some things for the people who will be


in the room. The EU negotiator, the UK,


and negotiating team because they will have to put


together a new puzzle because some of the obvious signals from the UK


Government is that they want a new relationship, not


the Norwegian, not the Swiss, Therefore I am very careful not


to prejudge things because I think the people in the room,


they will have a task which is sufficiently difficult


without the rest of us trying to... You have an insight


into what Britain is planning which lots of people don't have


because you've actually seen the undertakings they gave


to Nissan and you've judged Well, of course we stay in touch


with the UK Government on issues of this kind,


just as well with a number The letter in itself,


we don't have concerns of state You don't think that while we're EU


members at the British Government is committing funds to Nissan


which wouldn't be available That would be a very


broad thing to answer. In the letter and the debates


we have no concerns. Is there any public


spending involved in this? Well, I think, eventually,


probably you will know. But, for us, having seen


the letter, we have no concern That is as well as we stay in touch


with the number of other Is your understanding


still that the commission's intention is that we'll have


like the divorce proceeding and then in Brexit terms and then


a trade negotiation? That is the most simple approach.


The figure out where you stand and how you move on foot of it is a


complex thing to be divorced and having some kind of partnership at


the same time. Isn't part of the problem with this that the two


things are not going to lie one to the other? Nothing will be decided


until everything is decided. There will be things we want in the


subsequent relationship but you might want to serve early. It seems


very hard to disentangle these two things. These negotiations will be


extremely complicated. Maybe you get something in between. To some


degree, you can say this will happen to be solved also in a future


relationship. This is definitely something where we will have a clean


divide commits this can be done now. I think all of these details, they


will have to be solved in the room. Not because discussions around the


room. But because the responsibility of getting it right is exactly for


the people who will be asked to do the deal.


Time now for Viewsnight, a new feature of Newsnight.


All week we've been bringing you new thoughts


and ideas from a range of opinionated people.


You might agree with them, disagree, or think again.


Tonight, the British Senegalese activist and business


The widely respected head of the American organisation


Human Rights Watch, Ken Roth, expressed his surprise this


week at the appointment of the new deputy head of the CIA.


As you might have noticed, we follow Trump's moves closely on this


programme, and at the risk of breaking BBC rules on bias, we can


Mr Roth was concerned that the new deputy had previously


been connected to running a CIA black site for torture.


We were more concerned at the double identity of those


Emily has issued a kind of denial, but whatever


the truth of the allegations, we here at Newsnight fully support


Before we go, you may have read in the papers


Storms in the Med have left us without fancy foreign


imports like lettuce, broccoli and aubergines.


This sceptred isle has weathered fiercer storms than this.


There was once even a time when, yes, we had no bananas.


We've ransacked the archive to find some advice


So, here are some useful pointers when attempting


to cook that decent, honest, British vegetable that never


goes out of season or fashion - the humble cabbage.


Sally's cabbage has been cooked in little water with the lid on,


retaining the full value of the vegetable.


Sally carefully pours the water into a cup.


Jane, on the other hand, has drowned her cabbage in water and


apart from losing the goodness, that cabbage is a wet soggy mess with no


Now, never put so much water in the cabbage again, it makes it


But you'll do it quite all right tomorrow.


Good evening. Still some unpleasant weather out there if you are


travelling. It could well be icy ones rain, sleet and snow meanders


northwards. More rain in the South later. Let's take a


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Kirsty Wark. Stories include new US sanctions on Iran, an interview with Margrethe Vestager, and the new video tech that could make fake news easier. Also, should the UK invest more in Africa?

Download Subtitles