15/02/2018 Newsnight


15/02/2018

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


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Transcript


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The government calls out Russia,

blaming the Kremlin for a reckless

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and destructive cyber

attack on Ukraine which was designed

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to spread across Europe.

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Are we already engaged

in a cyber war with Russia,

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and how dangerous could it get?

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It's deniable, it's semipublic, it

includes the publicity. The fact I'm

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speaking about this right now is

probably in the interest of the

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attacker because it scares people,

so if undermining deterrence and

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it's very difficult to respond to.

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We'll be debating

whether the Russian threat

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is real or imagined.

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The FBI was warned that

Nikolas Cruz, charged with 17 counts

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of premeditated murder,

was potentially a school shooter

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after he left a comment on YouTube.

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He was a member of a white

supremacist group.

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The Parkland Florida massacre left

17 dead and many more injured.

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If Cruz was such a threat, why

was he able to hide in plain sight

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and wield a deadly semi-automatic

assault weapon?

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I'll be joined by two

people, each of whom has a personal

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close connection with a massacre,

one at Virginia Tech,

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the other Columbine.

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Headlines today screaming the danger

of this food and that -

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all the cause of cancer -

but is the constant

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bombardment believable?

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We try to separate the science

from the static noise.

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And a special preview of a brand

new work by the dancer

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and choreographer Akram Khan,

the final solo performance

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by the man who invented his

own language of dance.

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Good evening.

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The UK government took the unusual

step today of directly condemning

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Russia for a cyber attack,

publicly blaming the Russian

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government for spreading a virus

which swept across Europe last June.

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The so-called Notpetya

attack hit companies,

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including British ones,

after initially targeting Ukraine.

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This unprecedented public

accusation against the Kremlin

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by the government also includes

the threat of "imposing

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costs on those who would

seek to do us harm."

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You'll remember that this follows

last month's irregular

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and apparently unsanctioned

statement by the Defence Secretary

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Gavin Williamson that a Russian

cyber attack could cause "thousands

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and thousands" of deaths

by crippling energy supplies.

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Tomorrow, the annual

international security

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conference opens in Munich -

a conference that Theresa May

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will be addressing -

where the Kremlin will be

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on the radar.

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So is Russian cyber warfare now

a clear and present danger to us?

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Here's our Technology

Editor, David Grossman.

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Conflict on rush-hour's doorstep.

The war in Ukraine is brutal but on

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the.

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However, Russia is doing

battle using other means.

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Ukraine and Russia are obviously

in a situation that

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can only be described as war

and open conflict and the digital

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attack, cyber attack

component plays a major role.

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We've seen the boundary,

you know, attacking the

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electric grid in the Ukraine.

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We've seen several

major attacks there.

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We've seen high powered pieces

of attack tools that haven't been

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tested anywhere else.

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The concern is that Ukraine

is a test-bed for cyber attacks that

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and US targets later on.

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Nato defence ministers

were in Brussels today for a summit,

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trying to deal with a world

where the line

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between war and peace is so blurred,

partly because attacks are deniable.

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The UK Defence Minister Gavin

Williamson though today explicitly

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accused the Russian government

of waging cyber war on the West.

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It's no longer about

the warfare that

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we'll fight on land, sea and air.

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Increasingly, it's about in

cyber and space as well.

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So Nato has to adapt.

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This raid by Ukraine cyber crime

unit on a computer company

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last summer was an attempt to shut

down a virus called Notpetya.

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The company was an unwitting host

but the virus spread around its

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clients shutting down companies all

over Europe including in the UK and

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it was this attack that the UK has

now specifically blamed Russia four.

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It was an attack that

destroyed all data on

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10% of Ukraine's computers.

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Ukraine is a country

of 40 million people.

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10% of all its computers

were damaged.

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The attack spread extremely quickly,

globally, probably cost the

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world economy something

beyond £1 billion.

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It was so bad.

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Just to make it real for people, it

affected the production of, done is

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for two weeks, it affected shipping

of cookies, it nearly broke down

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worldwide shipping. It was huge.

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At the time, many

suspected Russia but to

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publicly accuse them

of mounting the Notpetya

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attack is, according

to

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observers, a significant

development.

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The CIA made a similar statement in

January and the Ukraine did at the

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time.

It's one time to identify the

Russian government as a cyber

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aggressor, it is another thing to do

something about it. It is unclear

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what the statement today was meant

to do, other than set the scene

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ahead of the conference in Brussels,

and to send a strong message to

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Moscow. However, there have been

many similar messages in recent

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months with no effect. The problem

with a threat like this is that it's

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not just about protecting computers

and networks, but damage is also

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seen in a country's morale.

These

can cause a minor harm but they are

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implemented for political attack

because they get a significant

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amount of press coverage and

therefore have, if you like, a bit

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of a terrorising effect. It's an

effective psychological tool, it's

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almost psychological warfare we are

looking at here.

The ease with which

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a government can use computers to

strike its adversaries without

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warning or reckoning makes the world

a more tense place. Russia responded

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to the UK's government 's accusation

with a predictable denial, the strip

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posted the strong message has been

sent and apparently ignored -- the

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supposedly strong message has been

sent and apparently ignored.

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David Grossman there.

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We did ask to speak

to the Russian Government -

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they didn't give us anyone

to interview, but the Russian

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embassy did say that there was no

evidence that they held any

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responsibility for the Notpetya

cyber attack, and that

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the accusations made

by the British Government were part

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of a continuing campaign aimed

at the stigmatisation of Russia.

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We also asked the British government

under the programme but they

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declined as well.

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Joining me now is Dmitry Linnik,

former Head of Radio Russia's London

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bureau, Edward Lucas,

journalist and author

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of The New Cold War: Putin's Threat

to Russia and the West and,

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from Munich, Laura Galante,

a cyber security expert and senior

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fellow at the Atlantic Council

international affairs thinktank.

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Good evening to you all. If I could

begin with you, Laura, does rusher

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have the capability to do a lot of

cyber damage or a lot of minor harm?

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We've seen Russia undertake a

variety of different operations from

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standard espionage conducted over

cyber operations all the way up to

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critical infrastructure attacks and

then the most recent Notpetya

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attack, which focused on the

financial sector and then had a lot

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of externalities, which we have just

covered. Russia is taking the

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approach of ratcheting up the types

of operations they are willing to

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undertake in cyberspace and they've

had both the technical and

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psychological component.

Let's talk

about the technical component. But

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damage can actually do? -- what

damage can actually do?

Let's take

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the Ukraine example of the power

grid going down in 2015 and again in

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2016. With both of those operations,

large parts of the country's power

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grid went down and black energy, the

malware behind this, was traced back

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to likely be Russia military and

what's been difficult to see in the

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West in terms of the capability that

Russia has here is the lack of 100%

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certainty around how these tools are

deployed. And what we are constantly

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faced with is this legalistic

tendency that we naturally have in

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the West to want to say, here is the

100% level of factual evidence that

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leads to this. But cyber doesn't

lend itself to that type of

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analysis. We can look at the

evidence, who is likely to benefit

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from this, what sort of evidence in

the malware and the tools is

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available to explain who's behind it

and then what was the effect that is

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achieved? With the Ukrainian power

grid attacks, the effect was both

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psychological in the Ukraine and

also a warning shot to the West to

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say that critical infrastructure,

this is something that will be

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targeted.

Thank you very much there.

Dmitri, if it wasn't rusher, who was

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it?

I've no idea. I have no evidence

to suggest that Russia didn't do it.

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But I would like evidence as Laura

just said to support these very

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serious accusations.

But as Laura

said, in cyber warfare, that is

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harder to do but the black energy

malware was traced back to the

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Russian military?

Whether it was or

wasn't, I'm not a computer expert,

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but I have read the use of computer

experts who disagreed with that. But

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as Laura suggested, on the balance

of probabilities, is that how we lob

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accusations at Russia, at the

Kremlin, at the country? I don't

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think that's the right way to go

about it.

Do you think then that the

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British government has been reckless

itself then in making that public

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accusation today?

Absolutely. I

think the British government in

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particular has been accusing Russia

over the years of the most

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ridiculous things like Russia is a

threat to Nato, a country that

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spends 10% of the Nato budget.

Edward Lucas, it plays into the idea

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that we think of Russia in a Cold

War context, a pariah and so-so, but

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as Dmitry Sirs and Laura said, there

isn't a bout of evidence, it is

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about probability?

Not necessarily,

no. Estonia had its power crippled

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and a senior executives admitted

that it was guys in his office that

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had carried it out. Admittedly, it

was a fairly crude attack.

It was a

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psychological attack as well?

It

was, and Putin has made jokes about

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attacks on the American system,

saying if it wasn't as it was

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somebody like us. You have to be

careful.

The contributor in the film

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was saying that even discussing this

is the destabilising thing the

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attacker once in setting this off.

Is this about flexing muscles?

As

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Dmitry rightly pointed out, Russia

is a lot weaker than the West when

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the West is united. Russia's main

aim is to play divide and rule and

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use what in the jargon is called

asymmetric weapons, weapons that a

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weak country can use quite

successfully against the strong one

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and cyber is a good example of that.

Laura, on the psychological impact

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of this, why would Vladimir Putin

want to be seen or even be talked

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about as the aggressor?

Putin has

two goals here and his primary

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audience is internal, it's domestic.

He has two figure out how to keep

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popularity and keep his position.

And part of that requires showing

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Russia's strength. If Russia can

chip away at Western alliances, as

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Ed is referring to, if it can chip

away at the sense that the West is

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the place where freedom of speech

and freedom of press have created

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these liberal democracies that RE

model, then Putin wins internally.

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And Putin is very aware that the end

of the Soviet Union in his mind is

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based on the attraction of the West

and in his mind, the false

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attraction of the West. The more

he's able to chip away at what the

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West from a Russian population the

more his strength will be in showing

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Russia's ability to go toe to toe

with the West. Whether that is in

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the last elections, though there is

a lot of evidence that the Russian

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military were behind that, this is

how Putin is able to show his people

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that Russia is ten feet tall and

able to project power on the

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international stage.

Dmitry, does it

make you think well of Putin

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domestically and abroad when he

spoken about in these terms?

That's

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a very novel approach to the problem

I have just heard from Laura. That's

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not the way it is played out in

Russia all viewed in Russia. We are

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talking about a bigger problem. For

more than ten years the West has

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been manufacturing an enemy out of

Russia and as you...

But my point

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is, who else has two game from an

attack on Ukraine?

This is

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speculative, but it's those that

undermined the two-way relationship

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between Europe and Russia, between

the West and Russia.

Edward, we are

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not talking about clean hands when

it comes to America. If Russia is

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that the game, others are at the

game, Americans and the Chinese?

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Yes, all countries engage in

espionage and certainly America ran

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a targeted attack on the Iranian

nuclear programme. Many people would

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say that was a much better way than

trying to bomb Iran's nuclear

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programme. The point here is that

Russia's cyber weapons are being

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deployed in a reckless way. If they

were simply spying...

Is he right

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that it could kill thousands if they

attack the energy system?

If the

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power grid shutdown in Britain,

there would be terrible disruption,

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probably people would die. I

actually think the American power

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grid is more vulnerable than the

British one because it's less

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resilient. The fundamental point

here is that Russia is showing its

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medals -- muscles and we don't

really have an answer. We could do

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really, as we should be seizing

money.

Thank you very much indeed.

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Donald Trump said today that "no

child should be in danger

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in an American school."

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So why was the 19-year-old,

Nikolas Cruz, who had links

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with a white supremicist group

and had been flagged to the FBI

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as a potential risk,

able to get into the school

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which had expelled him,

and allegedly massacre 17 people

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with an assault weapon?

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The US President said today that

"we are committed to working

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with local leaders to tackle

the difficult issue of mental

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health", reminding people that

in February last year Donald Trump

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signed a law revoking an Obama era

regulatory initiative that made it

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harder for people with a mental

illness to buy a gun.

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The Parkland school shooting

in Florida is the 18th incident this

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year at an American school

where a weapon has been discharged.

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In the era of mobile phone

technology, students recorded

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the aftermath of the deadly shooting

at the school in an affluent town

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of 30,000 an hour from Miami.

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Police, police.

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Put your phones away.

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Put your phones away.

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In a cruel twist, the school

was reportedly planning an active

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shooter drill in just a few weeks...

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Across the US television

networks, since Columbine

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and Sandy Hook, school shootings

have made far too many headlines.

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The president made his early

response on Twitter.

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So many signs that the

Florida shooter was

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mentally disturbed, even expelled

from school for bad and erratic

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behaviour.

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Later, Donald Trump made

a television appeal directly to

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children in America but made

no mention of guns.

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To every parent, teacher

and child who is hurting so

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badly, we are here for you, whatever

you need, whatever we can do to ease

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your pain.

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We are all joined together

as one American family and

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your suffering is our burden also.

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The news that the FBI were warned

that orphan Nikolas Cruz could be

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dangerous, the fact

that he was a member of a white

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nationalist group and that

apparently he was not

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allowed on campus wearing a backpack

all point to a lack of any

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co-ordinated investigation

into a clearly disturbed individual.

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Law enforcement agents say that Cruz

bought a semiautomatic

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assault weapon legally a year ago.

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AR15-style weapons have been used

in several school massacres.

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They're the consumer

version of the M-16 and

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there are 8 million of them

in American hands, but will there be

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any appetite in the White House

to outlaw the weapon that has killed

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so many schoolchildren?

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Rather than debate the rights

and wrongs of US gun laws again,

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instead, we're going to talk

to two people intimately

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and directly involved in two

prior mass shootings.

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Joining me from Denver

is Tom Mauser, the father

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of a victim of the 1999 Columbine

massacre, and in Blacksburg

0:18:390:18:42

the author Lucinda Roy,

who is a professor at

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Virginia Tech University

where she taught the gunman

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responsible for the 2007 shooting.

0:18:470:18:53

Thank you both very much for joining

us tonight.

First of all, Tom

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Mauser, I imagine every day is a

hard day that doesn't make it worse

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when you are reminded by yet another

shooting in a school?

Absolutely. It

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takes you back to that day and you

can just imagine what those parents

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are going through because you went

through it as well.

And when you

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look at the profile of Nikolas Cruz,

orphaned, I gather he recently lost

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his mother. Disruptive, expelled

from school, apparently not a road

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in the area and even backpack, on

the YouTube saying he wanted to be a

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professional school shooter. It must

break your heart that nothing was

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able to be done to stop him?

That is

right. He fits the profile. This is

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the profile of someone who is

troubled and dangerous and yet we

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did nothing about it.

What do you

think is the problem, a lack of

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coordination, a lack of clear, a

lack of concern about what has

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happened previously in order to try

to make sure it doesn't happen

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again?

Yeah, I think there is a lack

of coordination, in some cases

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between the police and the schools

and other organisations that need to

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know what is going on. And is also a

sense of there is nothing we can do

0:20:160:20:21

it anyway. Because it could affect

his rights. And as a result we are

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paralysed and we have law

enforcement to feel there is not

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much they can do about cases like

this, to stop it but that's not

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true.

Your son Daniel was so cruelly

killed, I wonder what parents of

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calling -- Columbine did to make

sure it never happened again and I

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wonder if eventually it just fell on

deaf ears?

I think some changes were

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made, certainly law enforcement

learned they had to go into the

0:21:000:21:05

schools against an active shooter,

not just wait outside like they did

0:21:050:21:10

at Columbine. Schools are more

prepared for these attacks. But in

0:21:100:21:14

terms of stopping them and keeping

guns away from people who make these

0:21:140:21:18

attacks, no, very little has been

done.

Yet we have President Trump

0:21:180:21:23

speaking directly to the children of

America saying he will make school

0:21:230:21:27

safe but no talk of guns. The White

House which presumably does not want

0:21:270:21:31

to change the right to bear arms.

That's right. The president made it

0:21:310:21:39

into that office with a lot of

support from the National Rifle

0:21:390:21:43

Association. He is not going to

speak badly about guns and so long

0:21:430:21:46

as we are not speaking of guns as

part of this issue we won't get

0:21:460:21:49

anywhere.

Thank you very much...

Sorry, I want to turn it to Lucinda

0:21:490:21:58

Roy. You taught the man who went on

to kill 32 people at Virginia Tech,

0:21:580:22:07

Seung-Hui Cho. You taught him and

you had fears and worries, what

0:22:070:22:13

happened?

I reported the student to

a number of different entities at

0:22:130:22:21

the University including law

enforcement and Dean of students and

0:22:210:22:23

so on because I knew it was very

difficult for there to be consensus

0:22:230:22:29

about what needs to be done so I

always tried to make sure I got as

0:22:290:22:33

many people involved as possible.

But take us through why you were so

0:22:330:22:38

concerned about the student.

This

was a student who was 23, 22 years

0:22:380:22:44

old, he had not spoken much since he

was two years old. He suffered from

0:22:440:22:49

something called selective mutism

which meant he did not speak out

0:22:490:22:53

loud often in social situations but

he also seemed very angry, and he

0:22:530:22:57

wrote an angry poem about class and

I did not think it was safe to leave

0:22:570:23:01

him in the class. The only option I

had was to try to work with myself

0:23:010:23:07

which is what I did. But things have

changed that time. For the most part

0:23:070:23:13

you can get help for students but

the trouble is you can still only

0:23:130:23:16

get it for a couple of days off them

and then they can come back to the

0:23:160:23:22

classroom because there is not

enough support for mental health and

0:23:220:23:25

not enough funds for it. So unless

we try to look at that as well as

0:23:250:23:30

the gun issue we will still be in

trouble.

I can see the Tom Mauser is

0:23:300:23:36

nodding in agreement with you. You

have a situation Lucinda Roy where

0:23:360:23:40

you have a student who kills 32

people and the drama and the whole

0:23:400:23:45

college must be horrific, yet I

imagine if you debate the right to

0:23:450:23:49

have a gun and number of students in

the university would still say we

0:23:490:23:53

believe it is the American way and

part of identity, so you have that

0:23:530:23:58

terrible dilemma?

Many of the

students did lobby for guns and

0:23:580:24:02

wanted to have the right to bring

guns to campus so they could defend

0:24:020:24:06

themselves. In fact to the NRA tries

to stoke that kind of thing as much

0:24:060:24:11

as possible. It can be difficult to

try to get some communication

0:24:110:24:18

through the noise and make sure

people understand as long as America

0:24:180:24:22

is in denial it will keep

slaughtering its children which is

0:24:220:24:25

exactly what is happening.

What

happens with each one, after

0:24:250:24:31

Columbine happened, after Sandy

Hook, everybody says this will be

0:24:310:24:36

the tipping point, this will be the

one which kick-starts a change in

0:24:360:24:41

American culture and it never

happens. I wonder if you think there

0:24:410:24:46

might be a generational change, that

some of the children, social media

0:24:460:24:52

as well, seeing these terrible

massacres, might adopt a different

0:24:520:24:55

attitude going forward, what do you

think?

That is true, I go around the

0:24:550:25:01

country talking about troubled

students and campus safety and one

0:25:010:25:04

thing I have understood is that this

is the first lockdown generation.

0:25:040:25:09

It's so ridiculous that adults still

think they cannot talk with young

0:25:090:25:12

people about this because young

people live it every day and they

0:25:120:25:17

are incredibly brave and they know

something needs to be done because

0:25:170:25:19

they are living in classes that are

terrorist sites so we have to do

0:25:190:25:26

something. What is inspiring is to

see how many young people are coming

0:25:260:25:30

forward to make sure things will

change.

Let me put that to you Tom

0:25:300:25:37

do you notice a sea change in the

younger generation, the generation

0:25:370:25:40

wench went to the horror of

Columbine?

I do see that, especially

0:25:400:25:47

young people are asking and should

be asking is this the kind of world

0:25:470:25:50

I want to live in? The gun lobby in

America is seeing the only way to be

0:25:500:25:55

safest to have more guns, teachers

with guns, people carrying concealed

0:25:550:26:01

weapons, openly carrying weapons,

it's the only way to be safe. I

0:26:010:26:05

think they are asking themselves

that question, is this the country

0:26:050:26:08

we want to live in?

Thank you both

very much.

0:26:080:26:13

Later in the programme

we preview Akram Khan's

0:26:130:26:15

final solo performance.

0:26:150:26:17

This soldier is formerly a dancer.

0:26:170:26:21

That's the character I'm playing.

0:26:210:26:24

He's presenting a classical recital,

Indian classical dance recital.

0:26:240:26:32

But first, we're constantly

bombarded with headlines about

0:26:360:26:38

what does or doesn't cause cancer.

0:26:380:26:41

In the last year alone

we've been told that:

0:26:410:26:44

Hot tea - causes cancer.

0:26:440:26:45

Bacon - causes cancer.

0:26:450:26:49

Potatoes - prevent cancer.

0:26:490:26:54

Flip flops - cause cancer.

0:26:540:26:59

And coffee and alcohol both

prevent and cause cancer

0:26:590:27:06

The latest of these

warnings came today.

0:27:060:27:08

'Ultra' or highly-processed foods

like mass-produced breads,

0:27:080:27:11

chocolate bars, sweets,

fizzy drinks, chicken nuggets

0:27:110:27:13

and instant soups and noodles

are pushing up cancer rates,

0:27:130:27:16

we were told.

0:27:160:27:20

What are we to make of all this?

0:27:200:27:22

Are we to heed the warnings,

or take it all with a pinch of salt?

0:27:220:27:28

Joining me now in the studio

is Deborah Ashby, the incoming

0:27:280:27:32

president of the Royal Statistical

Society and Head of the School

0:27:320:27:35

of Public Health at

Imperial College London.

0:27:350:27:40

Thank you for joining us, what do

you think when you see those

0:27:400:27:43

headlines?

My heart sank because I

thought here is another good study

0:27:430:27:49

that we need being completely

overinterpreted.

But you think we

0:27:490:27:55

need good studies and there were

nuggets in that study, not chicken

0:27:550:27:58

nuggets obviously?

We absolutely

need studies because it's reasonable

0:27:580:28:05

to try to explore what about our

diet might lead to cancers are heart

0:28:050:28:10

disease or anything else. We cannot

do experiments where we get people

0:28:100:28:14

to do one rather than the other so

we collect data on people, observe

0:28:140:28:18

what they are doing. It's the best

way we've got to get a handle on it.

0:28:180:28:23

But to then take that and say that

causes cancer you should stop eating

0:28:230:28:28

that causes panic or people say I

don't believe any of it.

That is the

0:28:280:28:36

danger. I wonder if you can take

that right back to say, you cannot

0:28:360:28:41

say something causes cancer, but

when you look at tobacco, was that

0:28:410:28:47

moment when you finally were able to

break through?

That is a good

0:28:470:28:52

example because it first observed

that lung cancer rates were going up

0:28:520:28:58

and people started to say what was

it about them, what other changes

0:28:580:29:01

which are going on? There was an

observational study of doctors,

0:29:010:29:05

looking at their smoking habits and

we began to observe that tobacco was

0:29:050:29:12

linked to cancer. It took a long

time to follow that through and

0:29:120:29:15

clearly understand the size of the

problem, let alone burrow down and

0:29:150:29:19

see which chemicals are causing it.

It takes decades to go from that

0:29:190:29:23

first observation to get the truth.

There are things is not causing

0:29:230:29:28

cancer then causing the diseases

which lead to other things,

0:29:280:29:31

trans-and sugars for example. It's

not that the jury is out and sugar,

0:29:310:29:37

sugar is just bad, is that right?

I

don't know that evidence terribly

0:29:370:29:42

well myself but there are

observational studies and sugar has

0:29:420:29:46

benefits in some ways, but it is

probably fairly empty but it is the

0:29:460:29:52

observational studies which help us

burrow down. For something like

0:29:520:29:55

smoking and cancer it's a huge

effect so we can see it early and

0:29:550:29:59

get to the bottom of it. Other

things were looking at a relatively

0:29:590:30:03

subtle and that is why it takes

longer.

It is interesting, so much

0:30:030:30:08

work done in Cancer Research and I

wonder if you would ever again with

0:30:080:30:12

anything be able to have a moment

like the tobacco moment?

I think on

0:30:120:30:17

that there was

0:30:170:30:23

that there was not one moment where

it suddenly fell into place. People

0:30:240:30:27

looked at it and looked at the

studies, people who smoke may also

0:30:270:30:28

drink, how do you pick which one of

those it is? I think it's a slower

0:30:280:30:33

crawl of evidence, each study is a

brick on the wall and it's not one

0:30:330:30:36

moment where you think are half

so

if you are a lay person and not able

0:30:360:30:44

to read the statistical data, what

are you to believe and what did you

0:30:440:30:49

make of it and what you to do?

First

thing I think look beyond the

0:30:490:30:55

headlines. The headlines are often a

brief snippet to get you to read it

0:30:550:30:59

and sometimes the over egged it. The

first thing is read, a lot of the

0:30:590:31:03

journalism today has been good,

talking about the caveats. If you're

0:31:030:31:08

not sure what to do go to a

reputable charities, Cancer Research

0:31:080:31:15

UK, NHS advice gives good stuff.

They will have looked that the sum

0:31:150:31:18

total of the evidence and thought

about it and thought what do we know

0:31:180:31:21

and what is the best advice? But do

not react sharply to one study.

0:31:210:31:27

Thank you very much indeed.

0:31:270:31:30

Akram Khan is an award-winning

choreographer and dancer,

0:31:300:31:32

one of the most exciting talents

working in the dance world today.

0:31:320:31:35

Newsnight's had privileged

access to his latest show,

0:31:350:31:39

Xenos which gets its world premiere

in Athens next week.

0:31:390:31:42

In May it will have

its British equivalent

0:31:420:31:43

at London's Sadlers Wells.

0:31:430:31:45

Xenos is a milestone for Akram Khan

- he'll retire from full length solo

0:31:450:31:49

performing after it.

0:31:490:31:50

With the work still in development,

he gave Katie Razzall his insights

0:31:500:31:53

into the creative process

and much more.

0:31:530:31:55

We are still developing material.

0:32:010:32:05

And the way I create sometimes

is I create a whole load

0:32:050:32:08

of crap and within that,

there's some good stuff,

0:32:080:32:16

but you still create it and then

you start to replace the crap

0:32:160:32:19

with good stuff.

0:32:190:32:20

So...

0:32:200:32:22

Otherwise you don't begin anywhere.

0:32:220:32:26

Let's get the structure and at least

we have some kind of spine,

0:32:260:32:31

some kind of journey that goes

from A to Z and then

0:32:310:32:35

we flesh out the dance.

0:32:350:32:37

And that's what you're doing now?

0:32:370:32:39

That's what we're doing now.

0:32:390:32:43

Akram Khan's methods

are worth a listen.

0:32:430:32:48

For almost two decades,

this dancer and choreographer has

0:32:480:32:51

created some of this country's

most imaginative works.

0:32:510:32:55

Newsnight had early sight

of his latest, Xenos,

0:32:550:32:58

as it was evolving in a rehearsal

space in central London.

0:32:580:33:03

It will be Khan's last ever

full-length solo performance.

0:33:030:33:09

The heart of Xenos is really

following this story of this Indian

0:33:090:33:12

soldier who fought for the Brits.

0:33:120:33:16

It's the very early scene before

he gets taken into war.

0:33:160:33:22

This soldier is formally a dancer

and that's the character I'm playing

0:33:220:33:27

and he is presenting a classical

recital, Indian

0:33:270:33:30

classical dance recital.

0:33:300:33:37

4 million men from Britain's

colonies fought in World War I and

0:33:370:33:41

in this centenary year,

Khan is honouring their often

0:33:410:33:44

forgotten stories.

0:33:440:33:48

Xenos also feels a political work,

which speaks to his

0:33:480:33:50

view of Britain now.

0:33:500:33:54

Xenos is a Greek word which means

stranger or foreigner and of course

0:33:540:33:58

it then expands into xenophobia,

the word xenophobia.

0:33:580:34:02

It's a symptom that was there before

the First World War.

0:34:020:34:05

It was the same symptom before

the Second World War.

0:34:050:34:08

And that symptom's returned.

0:34:080:34:10

And it's quite frightening,

to be honest with you,

0:34:100:34:14

and so I'm in a place where I wanted

to explore what I'm feeling,

0:34:140:34:18

what a stranger feels like.

0:34:180:34:21

You know, I was born

and brought up in London.

0:34:210:34:24

I never really felt that much

a foreigner or a stranger.

0:34:240:34:31

I somehow felt more of a foreigner

in Bangladesh when I used to return

0:34:310:34:34

back for wedding parties

or somebody's birth

0:34:340:34:36

or somebody's death.

0:34:360:34:38

My parents would take me back

and I felt very British, somehow.

0:34:380:34:42

And here, there was a period

during the 80s and 90s

0:34:420:34:46

when I was working at my dad's

restaurant as a waiter

0:34:460:34:48

and we faced some racism.

0:34:480:34:51

I feel very...

0:34:510:34:59

I feel very brown right now.

0:34:590:35:01

I never thought about colour before.

0:35:010:35:04

Is that because of direct things

that have happened to you or is it

0:35:040:35:09

a feeling about a changing sense

of our country?

0:35:090:35:12

I think it's not a direct

feeling to me, towards me,

0:35:120:35:16

but it's this feeling of being brown

is really more about the way

0:35:160:35:21

the country's being led,

our country's being led.

0:35:210:35:29

With Brexit.

0:35:290:35:31

It's all building walls again.

0:35:310:35:33

The reason for why perhaps

consciously Xenos came about, this

0:35:330:35:36

piece, was because of my reaction

to what is happening.

0:35:360:35:44

Akram Khan's a storyteller at heart,

his chosen vehicle a unique blend

0:35:460:35:48

of contemporary and Indian dance.

0:35:480:35:56

Do you even know what it is to be a

man?

0:35:580:36:03

He won an Olivier award

for this work, Desh,

0:36:030:36:07

an exploration of his ancestral

homeland in Bangladesh and his

0:36:070:36:10

relationship with his father.

0:36:100:36:11

His show Dust graced

Glastonbury's Pyramid stage and Khan

0:36:110:36:14

himself performed at the Olympic

opening ceremony with Emile Sande.

0:36:140:36:20

Pushing dance into new realms,

he collaborated with artist

0:36:200:36:23

Anish Kapoor for this show

Cash and others.

0:36:230:36:27

The likes of dancer Sylvie Guillem,

actress Juliette Binoche

0:36:270:36:33

and sculptor Anthony Gormley have

also joined forces with Khan.

0:36:330:36:36

At the age of 43, the physical

rigours of dancing are taking

0:36:360:36:39

their toll but when he started out,

it was the only way

0:36:390:36:41

he could express himself.

0:36:410:36:46

I was always afraid of talking

because I grew up in a society,

0:36:460:36:49

a Bangladeshi community,

that was highly driven

0:36:490:36:51

in an academic sense.

0:36:510:36:55

They all turned out, all my friends

turned out to be doctors, dentists

0:36:550:36:59

for some reason, lawyers, engineers.

I couldn't fit into my community in

0:36:590:37:06

that way because I felt that

whenever I spoke, it would just

0:37:060:37:10

sounds silly. I won a competition at

school, a disco competition, and it

0:37:100:37:17

was the first time that people in my

class, the students in my class knew

0:37:170:37:21

my name. And people seemed to listen

and suddenly people went, oh, well

0:37:210:37:27

done for winning the competition. I

saw you doing Michael Jackson or

0:37:270:37:32

5-star.

Do you feel you're at that

stage? This is your last full-length

0:37:320:37:42

solo performance.

I'm looking

downhill now, absolutely.

0:37:420:37:48

Physically?

Physically it's taken

its toll, and so I'm very emotional

0:37:480:37:55

about this transition. I think most

dancers would be. I'm sure they are.

0:37:550:38:03

Is it sadness or more complicated

than that?

I think it's much more

0:38:030:38:07

complex than that because this is,

you know, my body's been my voice

0:38:070:38:11

and my strength. That's the way I

communicate.

0:38:110:38:22

from February 21st.

0:38:220:38:26

-- And you can see Xenos

performed at Sadlers Wells

0:38:260:38:28

from February 21st.

0:38:280:38:36

Now, we want you to sleep well

tonight but tomorrow's headlines are

0:38:370:38:40

not going to help with that. If

those two went as bad as they could

0:38:400:38:48

get, on the front page of The Times,

shampoo is as bad a health risk as

0:38:480:38:54

exhaust fumes.

0:38:540:38:56

That's all for this evening -

but before we go, it's been 20 years

0:38:560:38:59

since the Angel of the North first

spread its wings over Gateshead.

0:38:590:39:02

Given its iconic status now,

it's easy to forget that at the time

0:39:020:39:05

of its construction,

it wasn't without its troubles -

0:39:050:39:07

engineering difficulties

and some local opposition.

0:39:070:39:09

We thought it was as good

a reason as any to show

0:39:090:39:12

Sir Anthony Gormley's steel totem.

0:39:120:39:13

Good night.

0:39:130:39:14

Start song at last

0:39:160:39:19

My lonely days are over. And life is

like a song.

0:39:350:39:49

Oh, yeah, yeah.

At last.

0:39:490:40:01

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