11/08/2017 Newsnight


The latest on escalating tensions between the US and North Korea. Acid attack victims speak out. The wall of green land preventing desertification in sub-Saharan Africa.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 11/08/2017. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Or if he does anything with respect to Guam, or any place else


that's an American territory, or an American ally,


he will truly regret it, and he will regret it fast.


The North Korean nuclear crisis keeps roiling away,


Is all of this making the actual use of nuclear weapons -


for so long unthinkable - a real possibility?


We speak to the man who advised Obama


Acid attacks in the UK have more than doubled in three years.


We've seen it on the streets, thieves on mopeds


throwing acid at people, now it's happening in people's homes.


He pulled the bottle out, squeezed acid on my face,


This man was attacked with acid two and a half years ago.


And, the green innovation staving off desertification


I campaign for human rights in my homeland.


In a generation there has been a catastrophic change


Korea and its surrounding region are in a state of high


President Trump this morning tweeted that US military options


North Korea maintains that it intends soon to fire four missiles


in the direction of Guam, with its American base.


But we're also hearing moderating voices.


James Mattis, the US defence secretary, has stressed that the US


is dealing with the North Korean threat by diplomatic means.


And it emerged today that talks are actively taking place


between President Trump's Korea envoy and a senior North Korean


official at the United Nations in New York.


But there are bigger issues here that won't go away.


At the end of a week of high bluster, I've been looking


into the question of whether the use of nuclear weapons is genuinely


There's a real chance of military action between nuclear armed


It also comes at a time when many experts feel nuclear war


During the Cold War, it would have been the soviet union


and the United States, both with thousands of nuclear


warheads and God forbid if they'd gone to war,


the whole planet could have been destroyed.


Now, if you had, and we must desperately try to prevent one,


if you had the use of nuclear weapons, either North Korea, India,


Pakistan or the Middle East, disastrous for these regions,


but compared to the Cold War, the risks at the time


of the Cuban missile crisis, it wouldn't threaten the very


What Korea reminds us of is proliferation and the more


widespread these weapons are, the greater the scope


Pakistan and Israel are each believed to have more nuclear


India has them too and Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Libya


are all believed to have had nuclear weapons programmes,


The next threat is what experts call lowering the nuclear threshold.


That means to some, their use is becoming more thinkable,


in circumstances short of global nuclear war.


Recent Russian exercises reportedly involved a small scale


use of nuclear weapons against European countries.


In the US, meanwhile, Donald Trump hinted on campaign,


that they might be used against the Islamic State group.


Were a conventional conflict to happen again, where North Korea


could probably inflict a lot of damage, it certainly


wouldn't be able to prevail in a straightforward,


Which is where nuclear weapons come in for North Korea in part,


because those weapons give North Korea what we would call


Even if wiser heads prevail, what is the scope for


Several senior Cold War statesman campaign on this issue,


highlighting concerns about computer glitches or cyber attacks


And if all that isn't worrying enough, there's the question


of whether some countries might have cut conventional forces to such


a degree, that they have few other options.


Some countries that pursue nuclear weapons, pursue them


because they are conventionally inferior to their adversaries.


So nuclear weapons in a conflict scenario might come into play much


earlier because their incentives to keep the conflict conventional,


A stable nuclear balance, like the Cold War or the India,


Pakistan situation is underpinned by large conventional forces.


That's the anti-imperialist case for proliferation,


if you like, that buttressed by other forces and


rational leadership, it can stabilise regions.


In the case of India and Pakistan, what has happened,


and it is disturbing and uncomfortable to acknowledge


They had a real wars three or four times before they both


And since then that has acted as a discipline, as a constraint.


That's perhaps the biggest military unknown in this present crisis.


The US could mount strikes no doubt, but Kim Jong-un has a wide variety


of retaliatory options, from massive conventional


attacks to chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.


No wonder key allies from South Korea to Australia are worried.


He was the White House Coordinator for Arms Control under


President Obama and he's now at Harvard's Kennedy


We will look at some of those big issues on the on thinkable in a


moment, but let's start off with North Korea, the issue of the


moment. You have been dealing with this on and off for decades. Where


do you rank this situation right now, how serious? I continue to


think the risk of actual war is low because nobody would benefit from


it. For North Korea, it would be fatal and for the US and its allies,


it would be costly. But we are seeing posturing and I hope it is a


prelude to eventually resuming negotiations. A lot will depend on


Kim Jong-un's calculations. He is demonstrating long-range missile


capability, but the cost has been more serious economic sanctions,


which the Chinese have been as serious to support. At some point


when Kim Jong-un decides he can come back to the bargaining table with a


strong position and look to see what he can get in return in return for


accepting a freeze on his nuclear return. We are not there yet, Kim


Jong-un of thing he cannot be intimidated by the Security Council.


So I think we will see another round of missile tests but I think they


will be short range tests. It would be extremely provocative? It would,


but at the same time with the Trump administration, they are trying to


manoeuvre towards a resumption of diplomacy. Rex Tillerson has said if


Kim Jong-un would just pours his testing programme, the US is


prepared to open talks. We know there are low-level talks going on


between the State Department and North Koreans and New York. You were


part of the conversation in the Obama White House. Iran was a big


priority, there were many other things going on, to what extent do


you think it is fair to say the North Korean was pushed onto the


back burner under Obama? The Obama administration took several runs at


an effort to negotiate with North Korea and they all ended unhappily.


The first run ended after the sinking of a South Korean vessel and


the second ended after a league date agreement in February 2012, where


the US provided humanitarian assistance and the North Koreans


agreed to suspend testing and freeze their nuclear programme but then Kim


Jong-un violated the agreement three weeks after it was done. So the


conclusion was there was no valley in talking to North Korea until more


luggage was built up. The testing continued and unchecked? You have


seen two processes happening at the same time. 1-0 has accelerated his


testing programme and the sanctions have begun to build up. You


mentioned the likelihood of reverting to the diplomatic to


approach, you quoted Rex Tillerson, but how do we read the statements


from President Trump? The others all seemed to be behaving like the


Washington figures, like yourself that we are used to, but this is


different, is it dangerous in itself? In substance, Trump is not


saying anything different that President is always say in that


America will defend itself and its allies. But Trump is doing it which


has a locker room quality to it. My concern is, I would hate to see the


president of the United States putting himself in a place where


he's being equated with Kim Jong-un. It is important Trump does not go


too far in terms of making our allies nervous. There is some value


in making the Chinese nervous, to get diplomacy started, but if you go


to bar with that rhetoric... You have spent a lifetime working on


proliferation, so is it just delaying the inevitable that other


countries will get the bomb and then one of them will use it? South


Africa has given up nuclear weapons programmes, South Korea, Taiwan.


Other efforts fail, Pakistan, India, North Korea. You never know, when


you start, whether it will succeed or fail. You have to play out your


hand and then at the end of the day, you will know. Thank very much.


Acid attacks are on the rise across the UK.


There were more than 400 in the six months up


and the numbers have more than doubled in England since 2014,


Most reported attacks have taken place in public places,


but Newsnight has spoken exclusively to one family who were victims


Elaine Dunkley reports, and her film contains images some


Where does it hurt, mate, are you all right?


We're here to try and get water into your eyes.


Mate, keep your eyes open, keep your eyes open.


The use of chemicals as a weapon is growing in the UK.


Victims left physically and mentally scarred by


I was thinking, I'm not going to see anything after that.


A common household product widely available and used in the


Back in April, 20 people were left injured and two


blinded following an acid attack in this nightclub.


Thieves on scooters throwing acid and people to steal


And now it's happening in people's homes.


Zahadine Barba was attacked in his living room three weeks ago.


Showed the phone to him and he said yes, I'm


And grabbed a bottle out from his bag and he just pressed on that


Twice on my face, and acid comes on my face and I'm


totally blind, and I know that he attacked me with acid.


Fortunately Zahadine was able to wash off the acid.


He has no visible scars and has regained his sight but


his family has been left traumatised.


I went to the kitchen and then I saw my dad over there,


And you know, like putting the water on his face, and


then I ran off to the garden because I really didn't want to see that


I never had anything like this before happened


And how are you now, how are things now for you?


Recent attacks have brought into focus the urgency in helping


someone who has been a victim of this sort of crime.


And although it is still very rare, the Royal


College of Emergency Medicine is calling for more training of


This is Newham University Hospital and it's in East London.


This area has the highest number of acid attakcs in the UK.


In the past five years there have been 400 cases and that


We are seeing a case about every day or


two, especially in this area, it seems to be a lot more frequent.


And some members of the public, what should they do if they see someone


with eyes burning, skin burning, what do you do.


It's important to stay safe as a bystander, make sure you


Other than that if you can help the person


by rinsing the acid off them and tap water is good for that but you need


I would recommend using 30, 40 or 50 litres of water to


get rid of the acid from someone's face.


This is extremely important, you can make a difference to whether


someone can walk away from an acid attack with just a superficial burn


or be blinded for the rest of their lives.


The problem is reflected across the UK.


Attacks carried out in the six months up to


Since 2011 there have been nearly 2000 attacks in the


There are petitions online to restrict the sale of industrial


It is cheap, easy to obtain and disguise.


It is a challenge for those trying to take it out of the


I think it's far too easy for people to get hold of


it, whether in a domestic setting or retail setting.


But one thing that is important to say is that it is


One of the things we are doing now is, we are


looking to do pre-emptive testing to identify where people carry that


acid, we are also working closely to send


strong messaging around the


If you choose to carry acid you can be


liable for a four-year imprisonment sentence for carrying it is an


If you use and the courts can sentence you to life


So the penalties are very severe and it's important that


anybody that goes out with acid, whether carrying it or whether they


use it, that they understand that because we will be coming after you.


Victims want tough words to become a reality.


For those who have been left scarred, their injuries


I'm now joined from Truro by Andreas Christopheros.


He suffered serious burns when a beaker of sulphuric acid


It happened on his own doorstep two and a half years ago.


His attacker, who mistook Andreas for his intended victim,


was jailed for life, but that sentence has


Andreas, we are grateful to you for coming in to talk about this. It


cannot be easy. When you see how much coverage has been attracted by


this issue of late, do you think the rest of us have been too slow to


wake up to the seriousness of this? I think it has become very shocking,


shocking matter for the country. It is hard to see what the solution


should have been but I believe that the real solution at this time is


tougher sentencing. And with my attacker having his sentence made


lighter, it seems completely wrong. You have been through so much, and


trying to get your life back on track, do you feel that anyone who


says that this is not as serious as I've broken attack is wrong? I would


have preferred to have been shot or stabbed. On the first might might


doctor sat down my wife and my mother back and said, we do not


think he will make it through the night. The difference was that if I


was shot or stabbed the wounds would heal, the scarring caused by


sulphuric acid which was what I was attacked with, I will never heal. I


will have these scars for the rest of my life. I'll will forever have a


loss of sight. There is no miracle cure for me. I'm sure you have heard


in recent months, all sorts of ideas have been put around like stopping


people under 18 buying corrosive liquids, saying you have to do it


with a credit card, changing sentencing guidelines, which of


these ideas make the most sense to you? You can buy sulphuric acid in


such an easy manner. Someone wanting to get their hands on it, they will.


And ultimately I think the real deterrent for anyone thinking about


committing an acid attack or an attack of any corrosive substance


should be the sentencing. You recently met with your MP, who is


also a Home Office minister. Do you get the feeling that the government


is giving this type of crime the attention it merits? It is nice to


hear this week the suggestion that any person who does commit an acid


attack will receive a life sentence. I think the indicators are there. I


feel everyone is on the same page now. It's only in the last week or


so that I can say I've felt like that. But anyone who commits an acid


attack should face life. It is a life sentence for me. They should


face life, minimum term of 25 years. I will have my injuries until the


grave so why should they walk the streets? Thank you for putting bad


beauty us. Thank you, Andreas. Well, we've been dealing with some


tough issues tonight, but bear with us, this last story


has a more hopeful note. Climate change poses huge challenges


and, it's projected, will cause hundreds of millions


to become refugees. Desertification in sub-Saharan


Africa plays a big part in that. And that in turn feeds into Europe's


unfolding migrant crisis. Inna Modja is a Malian singer


and activist who has been to Senegal for Newsnight to witness


a pan-African initiative, It aims to improve livelihoods


in the Sahel region, reverse desertification,


and break the cycle of exodus. Stretching across the width


of Africa, the southern reaches of the Sahara desert are known


as the Sahel. It's a zone between sand


and productive land, which has been severely degraded


in recent years by climate change But here in northern Senegal,


the Sahel is starting to come back to life again,


thanks to a little-known pan-African initiative called


the Great Green Wall. Launched in 2007, it hopes


to provide a new way of thinking I'm Inna Modja, a musician


and activist from Mali. I perform my music around the world


and campaign for human rights The Great Green Wall was initially


conceived as an ambitious plan to plant a natural 8,000 kilometres


wall of trees and plants stretching from Senegal to Djibouti,


but that hasn't happened and the grand idea of a continuous


wall of trees has gradually faded. Critics argued that a wall promoted


the idea of a barrier against the desert, when in fact


it's a much greater region So, the wall has evolved


into a vision to green the areas surrounding the Sahara with a mosaic


of trees and small developments, This has been a shared


political vision of African Notably Thomas Sankara,


Burkina Faso's revolutionary Now 20 countries across the region


have come together to $8 billion have been


given or pledged so far, mostly coming from international


partners, such as the World Bank with some funding from beneficiary


countries and the African union. People here live on the very front


line of climate change, But in their day-to-day lives,


they feel the effects of climate change, they feel


the effects of desertification. This project really aims to redress


this by creating food security And it's not just about food,


every day we see the wider impact The Mediterranean migrant crisis,


the Boko Haram massacres in the Chad region and terrorist


attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso. At their root, all of this can be


traced to a cycle of poverty and lack of opportunity


that is fuelled by a decline In a generation, there's been


a catastrophic change The Great Green Wall aims to provide


new opportunities for communities, not just to survive,


but to thrive here once more. Places like this in Senegal are


known as the villages with no men. There's a gaping hole


in the local demographic. The young men have left


to seek jobs elsewhere, It's driving the young away


from their communities to seek I can see that you have


henna on your fingers, This lady has not heard


from her son for years. He was the major breadwinner


for the family before he left. How does that affect


you economically? It only takes a walk


through the dusty street here to see whose relatives have made it


to Europe and whose haven't. The homes of successful migrants


are large properties made The others are wood


and straw with thatched This is the pull factor that drives


many towards the perilous boat In west Africa up to 80% of


the population live in rural areas. Youth unemployment is a huge problem


across the Sahel and a massive By 2030, the project aims to restore


100 million hectares of land, sequester 250 million tonnes


of carbon and generate more Although it's not clear exactly how


these numbers will be achieved. It's definitely small beginnings,


with the hope of building The Great Green Wall is a powerful


symbol to focus global attention It remains to be seen how successful


it will be in breaking Fascinating, that is all from us


tonight, we are back on Monday, have a great weekend.


Good evening after disappointing weather this week the weekend is


shaping up nicely, not altogether dry


Download Subtitles