10/04/2017 Newsnight


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Emily Maitlis.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 10/04/2017. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Tonight: the White House leaves open the possibility to more


The message that we are sending to the Russians is very clear.


Do they want to stick with a toxic regime?


Do they want to be eternally associated with a guy


But a former ambassador to Syria thinks regime change


This advisor to the Syrian opposition says


Also tonight...It's called Spice - an illegal drug that, it is claimed,


Can you imagine, if you slept rough, you wake up and you feel like shit


and you wake up and you smoke some Spice


and you are OK, you're ready to go, you know?


Howard Jacobson writes a book about Donald Trump.


And I wanted to be amused by it all and then you realise


the absurdity is only going to take you so far.


And remember the gay 93 year old who last year got an official


pardon for what were ONCE crimes of indecency, but aren't any more.


If I get the apology, I don't need a pardon.


I don't mind in the least, I just want an apology.


Well now he's got his apology, how does he fell about it.


Does Russia listen to anything the West says?


And can we tighten the screws when it comes to making


Previous sanctions have hurt Russia economically -


but haven't led to any softening of its stance on Crimea.


So can we expect anything new when G7 countries gather


in Italy to discuss new punishment for its role in Syria?


Today, our Foreign Secretary laid down a Boris-shaped gauntlet,


saying Russia had a choice - to continue backing toxic Assad


or to work with the rest of the world to find


He's talking moves to ban Syrian or Russian military figures.


At the group of seven meetings this week, it is the eighth former member


of that club that is topping the agenda. Russia PTP continues proper


Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian brittle leaders means further sanctions are


now on the table for Moscow. The message that we are sending to the


Russians is clear. Do they want to stick with a toxic regime. Do they


want to be eternally associated with a guy who gases his own people or do


they want to work with the Americans and the rest of the G-7 and indeed


like-minded countries? Sanctions would hardly be unprecedented. The


US and EU impose sanctions on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine in


2014. Throughout we have given Vladimir Putin a simple choice.


Respect the sovereignty of Ukraine or face increasing consequences.


That has allowed us to rally the world's major developed countries to


impose real costs on Russia. So did it work? Well, Russia suffered. This


is gross national income per head for Russia are measured in US


dollars. Since the millennium, it generally moved up, hitting a peak


of almost $15,000 a person in 2014. When the sanctions came in, it


dropped dramatically to around $11,500 per person. A fall in oil


prices contributed to that as well leading to a squeeze on ordinary


Russians who had to cut their own spending by 15%. The Russian


government estimated that the number of Russians living in poverty had


been stable at around 16 million people in 2014. It now stands at


over 21 million people. That is a price that Mr Putin has been willing


to pay. In the long run, isolation, the isolation of Russia is not going


to help, but in the short run he is certainly willing to pay the price


and for the Russian people who have been traumatised so much by the


Soviet system and then by the chaos of the 1990s, they are willing to


put up with more hardships than we are. Sanctions are not currently


biting Russia as deeply as the first aid. The insurrection of the Russian


economy on western sanctions was very big and the Russian financial


markets were in turmoil because the Russian economy faced significant


pressure to repay foreign debt and banks and companies were committed


abroad. Afterwards, the attitude softened and oil prices have


recovered and no new signals on sanctions and then in 2016, the


Russian economy contracted by not point to I do not see any effect of


sanctions of the current situation. When some Britons, particularly


Londoners think about Russians, they might think of rich immigrants who


come and put huge amounts of money into some of our swankiest


neighbourhoods or or you might think of the military might of Russia, the


nuclear arsenal, the intervention for example into Syria. The truth is


that Russia is a country with very profound social and economic


problems. The biggest problem in the Russian economy is its complete lack


of rule of law, corruption throughout the entire system that


chokes all innovation. Its overreliance on raw materials,


especially hydrocarbons, dire demographic decline, the effect of


sanctions that have contributed to the decline of the Russian economy


and lastly Russia's growing isolation in the view of the


aggressive foreign policy posture by Vladimir Putin. There are sanctions


that could apply pressure, on finance, learn investment on Russia,


all is critical oil and gas sector. Might the West actually managed to


do that as it did to Iran? IC zero chances of this happening, because


there is no political will in them worse, there is a transitional


period in the US administration and Brexit in the European Union, so


will Russia and Ukraine in my view our out of plans at the moment. In


reply to those 2014 sanctions, Vladimir Putin and EU food imports


and act which hurt his own people by fuelling inflation. A man who


effectively sanctioned his own people for effect is a hard man to


beat with sanctions. Chris Kirk. Earlier I spoke to President Trump's


former adviser Did he agree with Boris Johnson's


assessment that the bombing of Syria Well basically there are now two red


lines in the making, one for the United States for this


administration, which is to forbid the use of chemical weapons


by the Syrian regime or by any other player, that is one red line but now


you have the Russians and the Iranians and their allies


who are drawing a red line So they are messaging


the United States that you may have had this one strike against Assad


because of the chemical weapons, but there is no acceptance that


you will topple the regime and I think in the negotiations that


will be taking place between Secretary Tillerson


and Moscow will be revolving Boris Johnson has called


this willingness to bomb Syria a game-changer,


do you think it is? I think the game is changing,


it started to change when for some unknown reason,


out of nowhere, the Assad regime allegedly used


those chemical weapons, although he has been


bombarding the Syrian opposition for a long time,


most of the people killed were not killed by the chemical weapons,


it is still intriguing to learn why By using them, unlike in the time


of the Obama administration, the Trump administration


will actually act, but act only to respond to the use


of chemical weapons. There is no project of toppling


Assad as far as I know right He has called for sanctions though,


against Russia over actions There are talks now across


the Atlantic about what is the next stage of how to deal with Russia


and really there are two doctrines here, one which says,


we need to put some sanctions and force Russia into changing


behaviour and changing There is this other view,


which is we now act in eastern Syria to destroy ISIS and develop a free


Syria. Then we put pressure on Russia


because if we put pressure on Russia and we do not have any part of Syria


where we can act, then But the US position now,


just clarify for us, the US administration believes that


Assad must go? In the long term, it was not


actually said, in the long term, what was said, by several officials


is that the future of Syria after the crisis will not have


Assad as a President. That is what was said,


but that does not mean immediately there will be US action to unseat


Assad. This is the problem isn't it,


that we are talking about long-term or short-term


or in the intermediate, people are struggling to work out


what Donald Trump 's foreign policy Has he turned into a humanitarian,


is he going to get involved in foreign policy, is he ditching


the America First, where is he now? Basically he is involved


fully in foreign policy. These were the questions that


were debated during the campaign when he was not yet


in the White House and let's say during the transition,


maybe in the first two to three weeks, now he is the President


of a superpower, and he Of course not all of the plans


are already established, in the case of Syria,


what prompted this action, was not his plan, it was prompted


by the Assad regime behaviour. Now I think, he and Congress


will have to figure out a strategy for Syria for the immediate range


and also for the medium So is part of the strategy also


being noticeably harder on Russia? Well, there was a view


during the campaign and during the transition


that we may find a common ground with Russia against the terrorists,


although we have many Now the incident in Syria has


occurred, the Trump administration will have to signify,


and message even Russia, that the use of chemical weapons


is forbidden and at the same time we need to continue


our job against ISIS. The remaining question is what will


Russia do in the meanwhile? We have heard them saying with


the Iranians that they would not want to see the United States


acting against Assad. Donald Trump has said in the past


that presidents who enter into foreign policy wars


are normally doing it to distract People are pointing the finger


at him now and are saying that is exactly what you're doing,


this is all a distraction. Obviously, the opposition is going


to use all the arguments they can, including arguments from statements


that he made. Look at the Clintons,


the Obama side, how many statements they made during the campaign,


that were used against them during the campaign and even now,


so that is the nature of American politics, but again the public


will judge upon what has been done on the ground in reality


and on the ground in reality in Syria, there is one path right


now, destroying ISIS and making sure that the future of Syria will


represent what the Syrians want, which are the statements made


by Rex Tillerson and the President Walid Phares, thank


you very much indeed. The strikes against Syria


by the Trump administration appeared - politically -


to come from nowhere . But tonight the White House


acknowledged it is holding open America said this evening


they knocked out 20 percent And tonight Trump's spokesman


said it was impossible to imagine a 'stable Syria


with Assad in charge'. So what does the policy


for Syria now look like? The question the world has been


grappling with for years We'll discuss in a moment,


but first - a reminder of how US policy has shifted on the Syrian


leader through these two statements just days apart from the White House


spokesman Sean Spicer and America's Can you clear up for the President


stands on whether Bashar al-Assad is the legitimate President of Syria? I


think with respect to Assad, there is a political reality that we have


to accept in terms of where we are, right now. There is not any sort of


option where a political solution that will happen with Assad at the


head of the regime. A few look at the situation, it will be hard to


see a peaceful and stable government with Assad.


Peter Ford was Britain's ambassador to Syria from 2003 until 2006.


Reza Afshar led the Foreign Office's Syria team until 2013 and now


Thank you to you both. Peter Ford, it is a dwindling group now who's


still think Bashar al-Assad is the solution to Syria. You do. Yes,


because he already controls about 80% of the populated areas and after


his success in Aleppo, he was well on course until this latest


extraction, to mocking up many of the remaining pockets of opposition.


Sadly, Trump has created this diversion and has set back efforts


to pacify the rest of Syria, but basically what is left is a rural


insurgency. The towns belong to Assad already and this is where most


of the people are. You describe it as a distraction and


a diversion to stop aside using chemical weapons on his people? You


assume that he did, aren't you a bit premature? There has been no


investigation. It is crucial that there should be an impartial UN


investigation? Why are the Americans so reticent about having an


investigation if there is nothing to hide on their side? We have not even


seen not a dodgy dossier, we have not seen any dossier this time. This


is Theresa May's Tony Blair moment. This is her Blair moment, her chance


to urge restraint on the Americans and not egg them on to more


foolishness. Reza Afshar? I think the problem here is your other guest


is distracting from the facts in Syria and what has been going on.


The reality is the Assad regime has bombed 500,000 people to death, he


has used weapons. On a point of fact, that is not correct. The


action that he has taken has created the environment in which terrorism


can thrive, it has also created environment in which refugees have


fled the country. The question now is not about redeemed change, the


question is what is a sensible policy about creating a situation in


which Syrians themselves can decide their future through negotiation


process? They are asking for a regime change, they are asking for


an opportunity to negotiate their own future. The first step is to cut


out the indiscriminate killing of civilians which has essentially


created this crisis, which has created a big crisis for the world.


So actually... What the US administration has done here is


finally to put some beverage on the table in the form of strikes. If


they turn that into a broader strategy which says if you kill


civilians indiscriminately, chemical weapons or otherwise, we will strike


military facilities, then that creates a process in which the


military strategy of the regime becomes limited and that forces them


to have to decide whether they want to negotiate in the Geneva talks or


elsewhere. That is a sensible policy. Let me go back to Peter. It


is hard to see how Syria can be more dangerous to Syrians? I went through


that question but allow me first to take Reza up on his earlier


statement about 500,000 killed by Assad. That is one quarter true and


three quarters alive. The UN are saying 400,000 killed. This is


typical of the distortion, exaggeration of paid lobbyists,


which is what we're hearing now. I don't think those people are arguing


the fact that there is a civil war which has been going on with the


deaths of absolutely hundreds of thousands of civilians in Syria. The


question is... On both sides. Why does Assad have to stay? Because he


be goes, Emily, the country will really implode and it will be a


bloodbath. There is no moderate opposition waiting. And it is not a


bloodbath now? You say that is OK? Of course not. But it would be much


worse. You have to look at the opposition held areas to see what


life would be like. What happens if there is no Assad, who is next? I am


not talking about getting rid of Assad. The point is how to enable


Syrians to determine their own future? How do you force the Assad


regime to negotiate seriously? They have not negotiated seriously up


until now. That is because they think their military strategy will


win. You need a political and military strategy to bring this


crisis to close and that is how you will make progress against Isis in a


sustainable fashion, it is also how you will deal with the refugee


crisis. You need the political elements and the military elements.


The military elements are underway. How will you suddenly have this


consensus that Assad will agree to which he has not done for the last


six years, while he is there? The reason he has not negotiated


seriously, in the UN led talks in Geneva, is because he has a military


strategy which involves killing civilians indiscriminately and that


has been his way to deal with the crisis. What needs to happen is the


whole context has to change here and he needs to see that his military


strategy would work. Then you see how the big O Shea Shinn 's progress


under that framework, when you are sitting in Geneva and when you try


and bomb your way out of it, you can't, because the US then hits your


military targets. That is a way of forcing a negotiation to happen in a


more productive way. Reza, when working with the British Foreign


Office, was instrumental in bringing about the Nato bombing of Libya. Are


you proud of that? Do you think it is a good example for Syria? The


alternative there is to allow the Libyan regime to kill tens of


thousands of people? The question is is Libya worse now would it be


better turning the way Syria did? In any case we are talking about what


the strategy should be in Syria, and again, no one is calling for regime


change, they are talking targeted, limited strikes in order to deter


the killing of civilians and for that to go hand-in-hand with a


political strategy. I know it depends which side of the bed Trump


got out on on a particular day, but broadly they are calling for resume


change... Do you not recognise that if you divert away from Isis, as


your main target here, then actually, that side of the wall gets


lost and that is the most immediate priority? Emily, governments are


capable of doing two things at once. Not in the same place to people on


different sides? Actually, they are. No one is talking that diverted away


from Isis. What we are saying is if you stop the killing of civilians in


Syria, you then help the fight against Isis, because you get rid of


a radicalised factor. You also enable the moderate groups on the


ground, and there are still moderate groups on the ground, to fight Isis


more effectively, and they cannot do that now while they are being bombed


by their own government. There needs to be a comprehensive approach here.


Thank you both. Thank you for coming in.


Spice is the drug that turns people into zombies,


And it's being treated as a major problem in some


Nearly 60 cases of Spice related incidents were reported to police


in Greater Manchester over the course of the weekend.


So is it actually getting worse - or does the epidemic


Katie Razzall has been with Spice users to ask.


Mamba is the worst drug out, worse than class A.


Psychotic zombie-rendering Spice, of which Mamba is a variety,


the synthetic drug which Manchester police have described as a problem


This weekend, they dealt with 58 Spice related incidents,


but the drug's reach is much wider than Manchester.


I haven't had it for three days and I've had night sweats,


pains in my side, can't sleep, can't go to the toilet.


The woman was filmed with other drug users in Wolverhampton,


before the government cracked down again on so-called legal highs


and banned their sale on the High Street.


So what do we know about the prevalence of a drug that locks


onto the same receptors in the brain is cannabis,


If you're talking about how many people smoke Spice,


Before May last year, it was legal, or a lot of it was legal,


so there wasn't much counting going on.


And other than to say, there are clearly pockets of use


in major cities all over the UK, and in our prisons, you can't really


A recent Panorama investigation into the chaotic state of prisons


found many of the problems Spice-related.


This shocking footage shows the effects of the drug


on one of the inmates in HMP Northumberland.


You can buy Spice, you can dissolve the active ingredient in water,


you can soak an A4 sheet of paper in that active ingredient and dry it


out, you can pretend it's a letter to yourself or a prisoner,


and you can cut up that A4 sheet of paper and that will go from maybe


?5 worth of Spice to a thousand pounds worth of pieces of Spice


So there's an enormous profit in prisons.


Bristol prison, every day, an ambulance full of big male


paramedics goes in to deal with someone who's gone crazy


Spice users outside prison, the majority rough sleepers,


also put pressure on public services, according


to Greater Manchester Police, with users often aggressive


and a danger to themselves and others.


Ambulance call-outs and NHS treatment can be costly.


And in cities across the UK, even in the heart of


London's Westminster, under the noses of those


who made the drug illegal, the effects are obvious.


He's homeless and spending ?5 a time for a cigarette worth's of Spice,


the same used to cost around ?2 he says.


What does it make you feel like when you#re on it?


So you were on the streets, and you realised everyone was doing


it, so that's how you got involved in the Spice?


Can you imagine if you slept rough, you woke up and you feel shit,


then you take some Spice and you're OK, ready to go.


If it was going to become popular, it would have happened


And by popular, I mean among young people, people who go to festivals,


It's only ever really been a drug adopted by prisoners and rough


sleepers. For the moment then this drug


is used almost entirely by prison inmates and rough sleepers,


but they're often doing it in plain sight, and Spice's psychological


and physiological effects on them mean in places like central


Manchester, its impact is being felt


far more widely. If you're going to write


a novel about Donald Trump, Howard Jacobson explains to me -


there's really only And so, this Thursday will see


the publication of Pussy - his turbo-charged satire of the man


who won the US Presidency. It is part comic pastiche,


part venomous diatribe on a man Jacobson describes as vacuous,


absurd and dangerous. A man who spurred him on to write


quickly as he feared Trump would be shot or impeached


before he finished. I met him at his house earlier,


where I asked him why he'd chosen such a naked,


raw form of satire for his work. And there was, there was a kind


of the absurdity of the whole thing, in my eyes, the total absurdity


of the man. I had never seen anybody,


it seemed to me, quite so absurd. And then you realise, well,


you know, the absurdity This is somebody who wields enormous


power, so then there's rage. How do you balance the rage


and the sense of comedy? And you feel it


differently every day. You feel it differently


within an hour. So I had to come up with some tale


that enabled me to be funny and not funny and furious


and the rest of it. So it had to be some kind


of fairy tale, borrowing And you describe this leader


who is imbecillic or absurd, in your words, yet he is the product


of a democratic system that has lasted what,


300 years or more? Do not feel you are railing


against the wrong thing here? He is the product of a system that


has lasted a long time and he might last a long time and everything


might be well. Do you think democracy


got this wrong then? Between ourselves, if nobody


is listening, I'd like to say democracy gets a hell


of a lot wrong. Part of my anger in writing this


book was fuelled by Brexit. I was starting to hear all that


stuff, any time anybody looked back at Brexit and didn't


like what they had seen, they were a Remoaner,


there was all that bitterness stuff, that get over it stuff as though


you are obliged to get over it. And you cannot deny


the will of the people. Well, that's not true,


you can deny the will of the people, and indeed, if you believe


that the will of the people has taken you into a disastrous


situation, it is your positive duty But we have this fantasy going on,


the people have spoken But the people speak whenever


there's a general election And if democracy is to work,


the people have to be given the opportunity


to change their mind. Are you suggesting that the people


shouldn't have voted that way because they didn't know


what they were doing? I'm suggesting that I think


that they voted the wrong way, I'm suggesting that I think


they were ill-informed and misinformed, and I'm also highly


conscious of the fact that you're not allowed to be


rude to the people. They are a sacred entity,


the people are sacrosanct. Well, nothing should be sacrosanct


and I think that if you have voted for Donald Trump,


I don't care what your reasoning is, to have voted for a man offering


such a meagre, meagre view of the world, with so few words


to describe the world, or to imagine the world,


and imprisoned in this minuscule vocabulary,


because if you've got no vocabulary, you've got no thoughts,


to have voted for such a person Some people watching this will say


wow, he's fallen into that classic liberal trap,


they only like democracy when their people win,


they only like tolerance and decency Democracy works best


when I think the people, the demos are making


the right decisions. And is it the language question that


offends you the most? And is that because you're a writer


or because you think that lies I think it lies at the heart


of civilisation, and I want to be clear, that I'm not complaining that


Trump is not an orator or a poet, that he doesn't speak beautifully,


that's not the issue. The issue is how words free one


into thought and how language frees one out of prejudice and bias


and a narrowness of viewpoint which is no good for anybody


to be locked in. This isn't someone from a university


complaining about the fact that Trump doesn't speak


like a university lecturer, but do you remember he once said,


I think it was at a Nevada rally, It didn't mean, even though you're


not educated I love you, and what I will then try to do


in my years as president He loved the state


of uneducatedness. At the moment it is part of the way


populism is going at the moment, that you turn the people,


that you make the people love themselves for not having this


horrible thing that the enemy has, And if you turn the people


against the very idea of education, you're not giving them anything,


you're taking something from them, What happens if this turns out to be


an incredibly successful presidency? If everything you think now


is proved wrong and actually, you know, he makes


a good fist of it? And if he does, well, I will have


to have a little think again. Do you remember 92-year-old


George Montague, who appeared He was reacting to the news


that the government was to grant a pardon to gay men like himself


who were convicted of sexual offences where the act in question


is no longer illegal today. If I get the apology,


I don't need a pardon, I don't mind in the least,


I just want an apology. Not only me, there's apparently


still 11,000 older men like me, still alive, and I talk


to some of them. My great friend Lord


Edward Montague, take him, I said to him one day, come on,


surely, you deserve an apology, and he said, like lots of others,


my contemporaries say to me when I talk to them, oh, George,


just leave it, let it lie. Well, now our colleagues


at the World at One on Radio 4 have revealed that George has finally


got his apology - as part of a week of reports 50


years on from the decriminalisation It is very nice to welcome you back.


Tell us what happened, George. Just over a year ago, I decided that I


would get people to sign a petition and we spent the whole day at


Kemptown Carnival in Brighton and then about six months later, my


partner and I took it up to Number 10 and the media were there and they


filmed us. I put my fingerprints on that door knockers and banged the


door and handed in the petition and now, at long last, to my great


delight, we have got the result. When you have got a letter, is that


right? I have got the letter in front of me. Read it out. It is from


the Home Office, addressed to me personally. Dear Mr Montague, thank


you for your letter of the 1st of November to the Prime Minister about


past convictions incurred by gay men to which I have been asked to


respond. Euro quest, an apology from the government, on behalf of his


predecessors. Now, many more are lived in fear of being criminalised


because they were being treated in a very different way from heterosexual


couples. Actually, understand that we offer this full apology. Their


treatment was unfair, what happened to these men is a matter of the


greatest regret and I should be glad so to all of us, I am sure to the


members across the House, for this we are today deeply sorry. The House


of Commons, Hansard Number 10 and dated January, 2017. And on the


back, I hope this address, addresses the concerns you have raised. Yours


sincerely, John Woodward, who I understand is a very senior member


of the Home Office, John would stop. Congratulations, George, tell us


what that feels like? Is the campaign over now? I can only say


that when I arrived, the letter was in my home for at least a couple of


weeks before we came back from Thailand about ten days ago and


there was this letter. And I cannot describe my delight when I opened


it. I couldn't believe, I had hoped we would get something, but I did


not think we would get such a detailed letter of apology.


Wonderful. And does it rest here now? Do you feel that we have a


quality? Well, absolutely! The only thing I am a little bit concerned


about is the whole thing is to me, personally, now there are 16 or


17,000 other men, many of them did nothing but they were persecuted by


the police and ended up with convictions. Some of them committed


suicide. OK, we cannot apologise to them, but we could at least a


posthumous apology, going back to Oscar Wilde. He served time in


prison for two years and has never received any sort of apology, give


him up postmaster must apology and Lord Edward Montagu, other men went


to prison and when I said to my friend, come on, you ought to


deserve, he said old George, most people have forgotten about it now,


just leave it. I thought about it and I thought, why should I leave


it? So I haven't left it and I fought and I have got the letter.


George, you make a very sobering point and a good one, thank you very


much indeed for joining us this evening. Congratulations.


We are finishing with the look of the papers. The Daily Telegraph has


Donald Trump saying that Putin will not fully us. The cruise missile


attack proves he is not only the fresh air and will not be pushed


around by Vladimir Putin. It has that picture of the last respects


been paid to the policeman who died defending Parliament in the


Westminster attack. The Times has that Scotland gets a cancer drug too


expensive for England and Britain will be defined on sanctions.


Theresa May throwing her weight behind plans to impose sanctions on


Putin. Scotland leads the way with the anti-HIV drug in the Guardian.


And Rex Torres's line that the US will protect innocents from


aggressors putting America's safety first and their Financial Times has


the story of the Berkeley 's chief who faces sanctions and a pay cut


for pursuit of a whistle-blower. Much more tomorrow.


We leave you with pictures of the Great Barrier Reef,


two thirds of which, we learned today, has now succumbed


to severe coral bleaching, as the warming oceans kill the algae


Scientists have described it as the terminal stage in the reef's


Here's what it look like now, accompanied by David Attenborough


People say to me what was the most magical thing


What was the most magical moment in your career as a naturalist?


And I always say, the first time I put on a mask


and went below the surface, and moved in three-dimensions,


just with a flick of my fin, and suddenly saw all these amazingly


multi-coloured things living in communities right there.


Just astounding things, unforgettable beauty.


I first came to the Barrier Reef nearly 60 years ago,


and I remember very clearly how amazed I was to see such


a complexity of life, one of the greatest treasures


Good evening. Turning to quite quickly out there and a chilly start


to Tuesday morning but a lovely


Download Subtitles