01/08/2017 Newsnight


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines. With Kirsty Wark.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 01/08/2017. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



tonight for the violent crackdown in Venezuala.


As these opposition leaders are arrested, the UN and the EU


the situation, with the help of an opposition senator


Fentanyl, an anaesthetic fifty times more powerful than heroin


is the drug that killed the rock star Prince.


Today we learned that its illicit use has killed at least sixty people


already this year in one area of the county alone.


We'll ask why did it take so long to realise this was going on?


And Ryanair's shy and self effacing boss is warning of severe turbulence


The world has finally focussed on the severity of the crisis


in Venezuela following Sunday's vote to put more power in the hands


of President Maduro.The lethal cocktail of violent crackdown,


food shortages, spiralling inflation, rapidly draining


The abduction of Opposition leaders in the middle of the night,


filmed on the mobile phones of their families, will have


been viewed millions of times in the country,


and the international response has been overwhelmingly condemnatory.


Only Cuba is standing four square behind President Maduro.


Following US sanctions imposed yesterday the UN


Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for urgent political


negotiations between the government and the opposition to curb


Vladimir Hernandez is a Venezuelan correspondent for the BBC and has


this report on the crisis in his home country.


In the middle of last night, in pyjamas, in front of family members,


a Venezuelan opposition politician is bundled into a vehicle belonging


to the intelligence services. Help, said Antonio Ledezma who has been


kept under house arrest for two years for allegedly plotting against


President Maduro. This is a dictatorship says this woman while


Toby Jones has taken away. But the same time, and other opposition


politician, Leopoldo Lopez is also arrested. He is a well-known


politician who was recently put under house arrest after being


imprisoned since 2015 for supposedly inciting violent acts. For half a


century, Venezuela was seen as one of the most stable countries in


Latin America but since Hugo Chavez was elected at the


turn-of-the-century, increasingly their democratic credentials have


been been called into question. The arrest last night, midst of an


ongoing political battle between the successor of Hugo Chavez and plans


to change the constitution. And the political instability is fuelling


social unrest. In the streets, protests have been erupting since


April, Venezuelans have long put up with inflation of at least 800%.


Severe food and medicine shortages mean that the people are living


through the worst year since that Chavez revolution. This is basically


collapsed. President Maduro says that the


changes to the constitution voted in on Sunday were to restore peace in


the country, but here, he is also saying that with these new powers,


he will seek to remove the Attorney General, a former government


supporter who has now accuse the government of state terrorism, for


the way it has dealt with protesters and opposition politicians.


Over 100 people have died in these months of anti-government protests.


Thousands more have been arrested amid heavy criticism from human


rights organisations. This current wave of protests feels very


different from those seen in the past years. With hunger and despair


are growing, some of those involved in these demonstrations have told me


there is not much to lose any more. Will Grant is a BBC


Latin America correspondent First of all can I ask you, or


whether you know were people built where the opposition leaders are


tonight? And I think he is uncertain as to whether he will be speaking


just for a second so we was up to him in a moment.


In a moment I'll be speaking to the Venezualuan MP


Juan Mekhia, one of the leaders of the country's


But first I'm joined here in the studio by Javier Farkhe -


he's an activist and journalist who supports the Maduro government.


Good evening to you. Thank you for having me. You have prep President


Maduro, is he capable of sanctioning torture. He is hugely underestimated


in terms of the way he is dealing with the situation. He has been


facing protests, looting, violence, strikes, attempts to bring him


down... He been arresting people and there has been tear gas, is he


capable of ordering torture? No. President Maduro called for the


assembly not to change the constitution but he introduced


reforms because the institutions could not stay the same. But the


power to appoint judges does change and people are protesting and they


felt it was removing their democratic rights of the people. The


judges were appointed in 2015 with the endorsement of the Attorney


General who has turned his back on the government and one of the


reasons that she is in trouble is that she denies she has the --


anything to do with the appointment of the judges before the government


to over the National Assembly. The country is practically on its knees.


It is. We have a situation where there is international condemnation


of what is going on in Venezuela and particularly from the UN, the


bundling into cars last night of two opposition leaders, was that a


mistake? It could have been handled in a different way but they had


violated the conditions under which they have been put under house


arrest. They were in their homes. Should they have been arrested in


any case? One of the reasons they were arrested was because they


violated -- Michael violated the conditions of their house arrest.


First of all they called for protests which was forbidden by the


government and they called for violence. There are videos which


show... He actually calls for violence? You can quote that?


Rebelling against the government is not calling for violence. If you're


calling on the Army to do that, you're asking the Army to rebel


against the government, then you are calling for a military coup, they


have been doing that for a long time, ever since the failed coup of


2002. Obviously, notwithstanding the oil price, and the collapse,


President Maduro cannot keep a handle on what is going on in his


economy, there are food shortages, people cannot move freely around the


country any more, a government is not working. The government is


working... It is difficult for the government to handle that situation


because of low oil prices. There is little hard currency available to


buy products not produced in Venezuelan. The accusation is that


in the middle of all this hardship there is utter corruption. There is


clear evidence in videos and images that show that convoys of food for


distribution have been attacked by gangs of opposition motorcyclists.


There has been a lot of speculation within the Private sectors that


handles the warehouses. Why are you so sure that the combined opposition


does not have the policies to relieve the situation? 60% of the


people according to an opinion poll, in favour of the government, says


that the opposition do not have the capacity. They have been trying to


bring down the government. They do not have a clear position on the


economy. Can I be clear? You back entirely President Maduro. Not at


all. I think the stakes have been made, they could have dealt at


better with the issue of the exchange rate, it is a big problem.


Yes. At the same time, when he took office in 2013, that coincided with


the drop in oil prices. No government would have been able to


handle that situation better. Now we can go to our correspondent in


Caracas. Will Grant, ASCII first of all tonight, we saw those pictures


of the opposition leaders being bundled into cars last night by


security services, we have heard a supporter of President Maduro saying


that they violated their curfew at home, what has happened, do you have


any idea where they are? It appears that both men are in a prison on the


outskirts of Caracas. Very little more than that is known at this


stage. Theoretically they need to come before a judge to hear the


reasoning for their rearrest. Which, as far as we know, considering a


statement was released by the government is for two reasons, one


that they broke the terms according to the government of their house


arrest, specifically because they released videos around this very


controversial vote for a new legislative body, which they said


was an appeal to people to take to the streets. Obviously that is a


very controversial idea, their lawyers and families deny that, but


the other reason put out by the government was that they were trying


to flee. The family say that was not the case. Do we know what the mood


is like tonight, not just in Caracas but other big cities? The videos of


the arrest have gone around the now, presumably? In Caracas, it is


extremely tense, people have been setting up barricades on the streets


over the past few days, particularly on the day of the vote itself, it


was extremely tense, there was a lot of nervousness, there were clashes


between the security forces and ordinary people and protesters,


journalists were attacked in one part of the city as well. It is an


extremely strange... Unique kind of feeling on the streets at the


moment. I used to live in Caracas when Hugo Chavez was in power and it


is starting to feel like the rule of law is slipping compare to those


days. Since then, these two men have been arrested and that adds further


to the tension, particularly in areas that are controlled by the


opposition. Thank you very much indeed. We had been hoping to speak


to a leader of the Venezuelan opposition tonight but we had


technical problems and we will return to the story again.


In amongst all the claims and counter claims of the impact


on our lives of Brexit, in every industry, the future


of travel to some of our most loved European destinations aviation


is exercising airline owners and passengers alike.


And two of the most vocal airline bosses have directly opposing views.


Willie Walsh, the boss of BA, insists all flying conditions


will be smooth, but Michael O'Leary of Ryanair, is the doom-monger.


I'll be speaking to him in a moment but first in case of you need it,


Michael O'Leary has long been a pantomime villain. They occasionally


foul-mouthed Irishman has never been afraid to ruffle a few feathers. And


ruffle feathers is exactly what his airline has done over the last three


decades, with humble beginnings and is 51 staff in 1985, it has sought


to become the largest airline in Europe carrying 170 million


passengers last year. It has also attracted consumer anger,


developing, some might say nurturing, a reputation for


ruthlessness and uncaring service. Now however, Mr


O'Leary is centrestage with dire warnings about the risk of Brexit.


He argues that it threatens the EU open skies arrangement which


guarantees important freedoms to airlines. These freedoms established


in 1944 permit for example, airlines belong to one country to fly


passengers to and from their country of origin. They also allow air


blogger to one country to fly passengers between two different


countries or internally within another country. For instance,


easyJet, UK airline can fly from London to Paris and back but also


from Paris to Rome or from Rome to Milan. With Brexit, these freedoms


could be at risk. For one thing, the system operates under the


jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice which


Britain has vowed to leave. So, will we see a disguise and hundreds of


grounded planes at Heathrow and Manchester the day after we leave


the EU? With his alarmism dismiss, Mr O'Leary is largely alone in this


assessment. He has not been afraid of


You're Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, what is your pitch? It is


one of concern. The problem with the legislation is if the UK leads the


European Union it is automatically leaving Open Skies. As things stand


currently there are no flight rights between the UK and the EU and vice


versa. That happens at the end of March. UK Government therefore has


to negotiate a bilateral knot with individual countries but with the EU


27. There is no sign of that being negotiated and no sign of any


agreement. You're part of the EU, you're Irish, and a leading


businessman. You can go to Michel Barnier, to the 27 and say it is up


to you to go faster. We are but the French and Germans are saying Michel


Barnier, slow down. If we caused some disruption for a period of


months, and aviation comes up six months before Brexit, if we do not


have the right to fly will cancel those flights. But it is in


everyone's interest... That is the misunderstanding here in the UK. It


is not in everyone's interests. It is European interests, said in the


European airlines who are lobbying against this to not have an


agreement when it will not last for a couple of years but a couple of


months. But the British people when booking holidays for the summer of


2019 it will be dry or get a very to Scotland or Ireland. You are an


outlier on this. Everyone else was in denial. This is reality. There


are other legal realities which will come unto. But you attended a


meeting at the European Parliament last month and we have a clip of


Willie Walsh taking a diametrically opposed views to you. He says it is


going to be fine. With policy support it ought to be relatively


straightforward to agree a deal on aviation that will be ready when the


UK leads the EU. With policy support it should be relatively easy. There


is no policy support that is the problem. But when you see Chris


Grayling tomorrow? I hope there will be but Chris Grayling and the UK


Government have not been able to negotiate the divorce bill, they


cannot agree on whether the European Court of Justice governs European


citizens here in the UK put up never mind doing the sectoral agreement


for aviation. What is different about aviation is there is no


fallback position. It is not covered by WTO. The UK is out of Open Skies


and must negotiate an agreement. The UK is not yet out of Open Skies and


may perhaps at yet negotiate an agreement and also several airlines


including the one that controls British Airways will have a base


within the European Union. Easyjet will have... Untrue. That will allow


them to fly the way they are flying just now. That is incorrect because


there are two issues. Ownership restrictions and flight plans. The


current ownership setup will not survive Brexit. A Spanish company


owning British Airways. No one would like an agreement more than I would.


But you're not recognising the reality that continental Europeans


see aviation as a means to put pressure on British people around


September, October of 2018 because there will be no agreement. The


business of ownership, Ryanair has a big issue. In order to have the


ability to fly from one destination to another in the European Union 50%


plus the company has to be owned and controlled by EU nationals. Ryanair


is not, it is that 38%. We are at 40%. That is too low. We are buying


back 5% of our stock every year. That is not a challenge for me. So


you take money out of UK pension funds supporting Ryanair? We are


buying back our own shares. At the moment you do not comply with the


regulations which will allow you to fly between cities in the European


Union. At the moment we do because British shareholders are treated as


EU citizens. I accept that. In a hard Brexit if the UK leads we will


have two forced UK shareholders to sell but the Easyjet structure will


also have to be sold out. Easyjet cannot own and Austrian company and


British Airways will not be allowed... You have an Austrian


company 50% owned by European nationals. But Easyjet only own a


majority. They do not control it either. You're missing the point. At


the moment you can do this but after Brexit unless you can, unless


Ryanair is owned 50 plus percent by EU nationals, you cannot fly city to


city. That is not a difficulty. What I will not be able to do in a hard


Brexit is fly from Europe to the UK or from the UK and Europe. The


flight rights is the major challenge, not ownership. If I had


to buy back another 10% of my stock that is what I plan to do anyway, we


will be fine. But who will fly between the UK and the EU if the


British Government does not negotiate an agreement in about 12


months' time. And they had no idea how to negotiate that agreement.


Let's look at Ryanair. You said you would change the culture, if I'd


known being nice to customers was going to work so well I would have


done it ages ago. So why have you got this new policy of different


pricing between middle, window and aisle seats. Therefore if you are an


adult fly with a child that should be sitting beside you one of those


seats is more expensive than the other. The child seat is free. There


is a supplement. It is free, it is the adult who pays to reserve a


seat. The adult pays the extra. Yes. And that sounds like sophistry to


me. It is taking place at the moment and we have more than 50% of people


now selecting reserved seats when we are reducing our fair is about 4


euros per seat. We would be reporting July numbers tomorrow, the


low factor is 97%. Our flights are full. I'm not suggesting there are


not full. People love the service and they adore the prices. What you


have been reporting in the papers, with the random nature of algorithms


and everything else, you end up splitting up families. We have never


split a family, that is just not true. I have spoken to someone who


has been split up. If the child is under 12 cannot be split up, they


must together. Well we may get a lot of messages on Twitter after this.


And children coming along with luggage, you are also unhappy about


that. We are delighted. We have so few free seats. The thing I'm


concerned about is whether any children will fly with us from the


UK to Europe in April 2000 19. Thank you very much.


Carne Ross is a former diplomat who worked for the Foreign Office


Here's his take on why - after years working


for the government - he now believes in anarchism.


And if you want to know more about his journey from diplomat


to anarchist then you can find him in a Storyville documentary


on the iplayer now - look for Accidental Anarchist.


When drug dealers want to get the edge on the competition


and produce ever more extreme highs addicts end up taking


The laboratory drug Fentanyl, a pain reliever and anaesthetic,


is fifty times more potent than heroin and taking it illicity


mixed with heroin is described as being like like Russian Roulette.


Today the National Crime Agency said that it is responsible


for the deaths of at least 60 drug users in Engand and Wales


since the beginning of the year and may be implicated


Its killing potential is evidence by the figures in America


where the 19% rise in drug deaths last year - to 59,000 -


We'll assess in a moment what Britain can do


But first, I spoke earlier to Assistant Secretary


of State William Brownfield - he's responsible for anti-narcotics


I started by asking him how the problem with Fentanyl


Here in the United States in the late 1990s there was a demand


by patients on their doctors and the medical community to provide


The doctors, trying to be responsive to their patients,


asked for support and help from the American


pharmaceutical industry who produced opioids.


Not surprisingly as we moved into the 21st century,


the prescriptions and growing numbers of people that


were regularly using opioids developed eventually


into a dependency and an addiction problem.


And then as criminal enterprises realised that by using heroin


to short-circuit and provide a much cheaper hit than diverted opioids,


heroine then came into the market supplanting most of the opioids.


And then what we have discovered over the last two or three years


is that that same industry discovered that by adding a very


inexpensive and easily manipulable product such as Fentanyl


into the mix, they can at almost no additional cost to provide a much


more effective buzz or high and Bob's your uncle,


we have a first-class heroine opioids Fentanyl crisis


The likes of which we have not seen for more than 40 years.


I want to ask you about this, just to get to grips with it is


I mean, the example I use is a business sized envelope.


Into which you can easily insert enough Fentanyl that would provide


And if you assume perhaps he is getting ten bucks,


$10 per hit, you have $10,000 worth of merchandise in a business sized


envelope that you can mail at least here in the United States for 49


cents, somewhere in the vicinity I suppose of about 30p


Now the Home Secretary, our Home Secretary has been talking


about this today because obviously these figures have come out today.


But what can we do to counter it before it gets to


I will tell you some of the lessons we have learned from here.


That in less than two years entire cities go from having no experience


with Fentanyl whatsoever to an inundation.


Second, education is exceptionally important.


Most human beings actually do not wish to kill


themselves with a product that they are ingesting,


inhaling, or in some way inserting into their system.


And education can be tremendously helpful.


Education includes by the way how little of the product of the product


is Fentanyl or other analogues, can actually kill you.


Third you have to have some sort of intelligence system,


law enforcement intelligence is geared towards the


It does not come from the same production line that


produces the heroine, the morphine, or the


It comes from a different production line today dominated mostly


by the Chinese pharmaceutical industry and to get on top of this


you need to have an intelligence network with local law enforcement


William Brownfield, thank you very much.


Baroness Molly Meacher is a cross bench peer and the chair


of the all party parliamentary group on drug use.


Professor Sir John Strang is one of Britain's leading experts


on addiction and heads the addictions department


The evening. I think for many people they will not have heard of this,


they will have heard of cocaine and heroin but not Fentanyl but it seems


to be utterly deadly. Let us be clear what it is, it is an opioid


drug, it is a drug whose effects are very similar to heroin and morphine


and those classes of drugs. The particular problem with Fentanyl


which is the same as the problem with heroin is that if a slug of the


drug is taken, it turns off your respiratory drive, that bit of your


brain that sends signals to breathe. You're looking at the science and


the addiction together. I wonder if you think that a lot of addicts in


this country have sufficient knowledge of the possible impact of


Fentanyl when a single grain of this drug could kill you? You're


absolutely right. One of the key features of Fentanyl is the small


amount that is required to have that effect. In medical practice, that


has not been a problem. Fentanyl has been used for around 30 years as a


painkiller and anaesthetic because if you are needing to adjust the


minute dose in medical practice, you can do so. The problem comes,


particularly if you have illicit manufacture. With people who do not


know the strength of what they are putting in, that is the problem and


that is why it is described as Russian roulette in America. Perhaps


they do not care. Illegal drug dealers are trying to make big


money. They are not trying to kill their clients, but half the time,


they do not realise how dangerous it is. How did this creep up by mass?


We have had these laws for 60 years that ban all these. How did Fentanyl


as a component creep up on us? The Chinese are exporting it. It comes


from China and as we introduced a law about one year ago banning a


whole pile of psychoactive substances. These substances are


purchased online from China to get around the law, it is impossible to


police substances coming in from China directly to the homes of


people. The government seems to think... All you have to do is ban


things and that is fine but we have to be a great deal more intelligent


about the strokes. Interestingly, I wonder if you think that dealers to


know how to do this properly. When we saw police covered in outfits,


but we watched two policemen in America who were not covered and


became sick from inhaling it. The potency of it and the way they mix,


it must be under controlled conditions. We can learn a lot by


looking at the experience in the US. Very clearly, the product that is


put out there in the marketplace, is not carefully titrated. If it was


that there was the fine tuning of the dosing, then you would still


have your problem of the heroin addiction and its equivalent but you


would not have the death rate that comes with it. It is worth pointing


out, for those people and those families with a son or daughter


involved in this, let us be clear about the partially protective


effect of being in treatment. We already know both with heroin


overdose and Fentanyl over those that a move into treatment massively


reduces your risk of dying. You would hope this would scare people


into seeking treatment. It is a hugely important point but then you


ask the question about having the capacity to respond and retain


people in treatment and the evidence on the whole is that treatment has


become less available and more difficult to hold people in


treatment. My understanding is that these figures are very start because


it is only July and at least 60 with another possible 70 but it is


because the wait up -- the toxicology was examined, Fentanyl


could have been something that has been growing over the last two or


three years. Further products will come out as well. We must not just


assume there is just this one. The Chinese are producing new and ever


stronger and more complex compounds. How do you stop them getting it into


the country? In my view, we have to regulate the way we do these things.


Sir John Baird some excellent research into heroin treatment


centres, in Switzerland, there are wonderful centres were heroin users


get the clean heroin illegally in special treatment centres and


through consumption rooms and Durham Police are doing something similar.


If we do that, people get their heroin clean, not with Fentanyl edit


on the whole thing becomes much more safer. Thank you very much indeed.


Apart from the occasional burst of banter over Brexit,


politics seems to have packed up its bags and disappeared


The snap election was only in June but feels to some


But today memories of it were evoked by the publication


of a piece of analysis by the British Election Survey team


For three decades they've been monitoring the reasons people


And today's findings shed some new light on what was going


on behind the scenes of that extraordinary election.


Our policy editor Chris Cook is here.


Chris, what with the surprises? I think one of the things that sheds


light on this, it understands the position of Labour on Brexit in


particular. We have got a graphic here which is about to pop up which


shows the 100 blogs on the left in red representing Labour voters at


the 2017 general election, the blue blobs represent the Tory voters. Let


us look, using the data, how they voted in the 2016 referendum. What


it shows you is that roughly, about 70% of Labour voters voted Remain


and 70% of Tory voters voted Leave in the referendum. There is a


pleasing symmetry and that leaves people saying why aren't Labour


being more assiduous and trying to basically lock picks it? The British


election -- but the British Election Survey on thickness. The question as


it is what is almost important thing to you and people have to write in


what they think the top issue is and what we can do is sweep away all the


blogs by people on the screen who did not say break that was the top


issue. It shows you that basically there is a huge enthusiasm gap. You


bring up the numbers, about 18% of Labour voters are hardline Remain


voters and make Brexit is the most important issue compared to 30% of


Tory voters. 70% of Labour voters were Remain voters but only a small


portion of those still pick it is the most important issue. What is


the most important issue? Tuition fees, fox hunting? The amazing thing


about this study is there is no silver bullet that explains the


election. It is amazing that you would not know from the study that


tuition fees even came up or fox hunting, the best we can say is that


those things, if they were important, they were important to


secondary issues that supported the broader issues and broader images of


the two major parties. So was an election that never really was in


terms of sparks and passion. There was lots of passion but no clear


thrust that damaged fatally or it saved one of the parties. Like very


much indeed. A quick look at the front pages. The Guardian revealed


that tycoon 's own 652 empty homes in the Grenfell area and there is


the new Vogue editor on his first day in the job, the first man to


edit the magazine. The Telegraph, green tax ends home energy bills.


The Daily Mirror, greedy British Gas boss revealed that cars have gone


down but he is putting up prices.


Download Subtitles