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tv   Inside Story 2018 Ep 67  Al Jazeera  March 9, 2018 3:32am-4:01am +03

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we see just how this will play out but it's important to mention that the north koreans have committed to freezing their testing of missiles and nuclear development what they have not committed to doing is rolling back any of that so there still needs to be an awful lot of groundwork to be done before this potential meeting takes place down. there in pyongyang rob thank you now the u.s. president has imposed controversial tariffs on steel and aluminum imports despite warnings of a potential trade war mexico and canada will be temporarily exempt from the new levies while negotiations continue on a regional trade agreement. or the trans pacific partnership has been signed in chile what's being hailed as a powerful move against protectionism revamped a deal will reduce tires for eleven countries and connect economies well
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those were the headlines the news continues here on al-jazeera after inside story that so much about her. it's quiet the signal is given. out so it's safe to walk to school. in this community in one month. one of several in some townships and children caught in the cross-fire fight so parents and grandparents are what they call a walk. i lost my cooking leyland the go i also lost my but there are more than one hundred fifty volunteers working for. the volunteers also at. a very rare nerve agent that's what the interior minister says was used to poison a formal russian spy and his daughter it follows a number of mysterious deaths in the u.k.
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of recent years of people linked to russia which flatly denies any involvement so what are the implications of this latest attack this is inside story. hello welcome to the program i'm adrian the. former russian intelligence officer scrip all and his daughter yulia follows several mysterious deaths of russians in britain many of them had been living in the u.k. and it made allegations against russian president vladimir putin or his country's security services those allegations often included state involvement in political assassinations killings of civilians in bombings and running multi million dollar corruption rackets are example if in the enco a former russian intelligence officer who later worked with m i six in the u.k. died in november two thousand and six just weeks after drinking tea that was
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poisoned with radioactive polonium a british public inquiry found that he was. billed by two russian agents probably with the approval of president putin russian businessman alexander polygyny died in two thousand and twelve after collapsing while jogging near his home and sorry his death was at first attributed to natural causes but an autopsy later found traces of poison in his stomach he'd been investigating a huge money laundering scheme connected to russian officials and boris berezovsky a former russian billionaire and vocal critic of president putin was found dead in his home near london in twenty thirteen police could not determine if he'd committed suicide or was murdered or the poisoning of the russian father and daughter comes at a time when russian relations with the u.k. and the west are at their worst level since the end of the cold war in a moment we'll hear from our guests but before we do let's find out what's being said about this case in russia
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a moscow correspondent rory chalons reports. well the line from both the kremlin and the russian ministry of foreign affairs is that this is all an anti russian media campaign that they have very little information london has not actually approached them yet for any assistance in the matter the inevitable comparisons with the poisoning to death of former spy alexander litvinenko in london in two thousand and six all those are only been strengthened by comments made by one of the men wanted by u.k. authorities for murder now on day lugovoy were never extradited to face any charges in britain in fact he was made a member of parliament here in russia he says the britons suffer from phobias and watches of russian state t.v. have also noticed a kind of nod nod wink wink attitude to the coverage with the suggestion being that being a traitor is one of the most dangerous things you can be and perhaps these people
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shouldn't move to the u.k. clearly something is going wrong there because there have been so many strange cases recently with grave outcomes and if this was a state hit that's of course exactly the kind of message that would be intended don't be a traitor it can be fatal. all right let's bring in our guests for this program from london we're joined by bill browder c.e.o. and co-founder of hermitage capital management from brussels and for every five intelligence officer also in london samuel green director of the russia institute at king's college london thank you all for being with us today's inside story bill let's start with you what's your take on the script poisoning who might be responsible how was it done what was the motive. well let's look at the facts as we know them so far we have the mr script all was an enemy of russia he was considered to be a traitor by putin after becoming a double agent to the u.k. he he has been felled along with his his thirty three year old daughter with
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a poison the poison has been determined to be some type of chemical weapon a nerve agent. so what is what what can we conclude from this we can conclude that that an enemy of russia has been has been poisoned with a nerve agent that only a state could get his hands on and therefore i would conclude on the basis of this information that the the highest likelihood candidate for having done this is the russian federation and lattimer putin sort of saying that the highest probability theory is that vladimir putin is behind this. bill you say the highest the highest probability that is the putin is behind this could that be any any other way of looking at it we've got a presidential election coming up in days in russia could another state actor or perhaps a crime organization who want to cause trouble for putin have been behind this i'm thinking if you talk about state actors ukraine for instance. well first of all
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let's let's talk about the the second theory that somehow is that a mafia hit mafia doesn't have have have access to chemical weapons the mafia also the russian mafia would be absolutely terrified to do anything that would make putin unhappy because he's head of that mafia organization and as far as ukraine goes i've never heard such a nonsense in my life ukraine wouldn't do something like this this is a there's a basically three countries that could do this they it was north korea who has chemical weapons and have used them it's syria with assad that has chemical weapons and uses them and russia that has chemical weapons and used them those are the three countries now this man wasn't an enemy to north korea he was an enemy to syria he's an enemy to russia. he was living quite openly in the u.k. would he have been protected by the security services in the u.k. or have had any contact with them. i'm sure as he was
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a valued m i six assets for over ten years that he would have had contact there was some certainly someone still looking after him keeping a view of this case however i think we need to get the terminology right here one he was not a double agent he was a british agent who betrayed russia because he worked for m i six and he was paid to do that over a decade he was caught by the russian state in two thousand and six and he was tried and he was convicted and then sentenced to thirteen years in prison the only reason he was that back in the u.k. is because he was part of a spy swap in two thousand and ten i don't remember the. the sleeper organization allegedly that was discovered in the usa including out of chapman and they were swapped back to russia in return for western spies and the skipper scribbled with one of them so he was pardoned by russia and he was allowed to go free which would
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indicate that they didn't feel that he could do any harm to the russian state once he'd been handed over to the u.k. also in the spy swaps m i six as his handlers would have spent weeks in him as much they could and then they would give him a pension and allowed him to live freely in the u.k. much is precisely what we saw so in terms of the russian state seeing him as an enemy of it would seem as a traitor sure but you know a traitor that could do no more harm so i think it rather than look at his ancient history what the intelligence agencies in the u.k. now and the police in the u.k. now reading is looking at his most recent history over the last eight years that he living in the u.k. what he's been working on who he's been working with who his contacts are because from that they're probably find. evidence or at least information about who might carry out this attack at a very sensitive time in our diplomatic relations with russia that there are media reports which which the russian embassy in the u.k. flatly denies that he was having monthly meetings at the russian embassy there are other media reports that he become friendly with the british security consultant
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who worked for christopher steele before and i said. agent behind the trump dossier of the makes alleged connections between presidential candidate and businessman trump a z was then a russia of allegations of collusion could that be anything to do with it was was he really involved in something quite murky. it's difficult to tell i mean certainly i oversaw the report in the times a couple of days ago that suggested that he might have been one of the sources used by christopher steele in please get the what is now called the dirty dossier and trump said that would bring in other players potentially either state level or rogue state level who might have an interest in the outcome of this this man and his his life so i think you know at this point immediately start jumping up and down and say i must be rushed or it must be russia i think is ingenuous at best and actually further dangerous at quite a sensitive time in diplomatic relationships at worst some agreement why was cripple targeted and by whom. well i mean i i think that the reality is
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we is we don't know the strength of the system that that we have here in the u.k. so it's rule of law based system right so that we i think we do need to let this system come up through an investigative process with. with information that clearly we don't have or what what what bill described at the outset does seem to point a certain direction and really almost everybody obviously who's looked at this has has come to the what seems at the moment to be the logical conclusion right that that russia is the most likely candidate and yet we don't actually have any evidence that's taking us in that direction that would ever stand up in a in a court of law to say nothing of sort of the court of public opinion and diplomatic back and forth right so we will learn things. as we go you know clearly we don't know. unlike some people i love between and go before him are in already has has
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kept his head down relatively speaking at least and so it is difficult to to really have anything other than that fairly wild speculation about what might have put him in the crosshairs at this particular moment or i would try not to to speculate too much then but ok what do you make of the timing of this of this incident i mean here we are just just days away now from the russian presidential election which we've got to be a putin is all but certain to win. well and i think for that reason i don't buy the argument that has cropped up in some places that this was done in order to to help shore up his electoral chances i mean the reality is as you said he was not going to have any difficulty in that race on the eighteenth of march he has of course built his campaign all round as a central theme a threat and confrontation with the west the idea that given that russia for all
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intents and purposes is at war with the west on various fronts that this is not the time to the change of leadership but that message has been driven home for the quickly and really does not require something like this to. to reinforce it i am not sure you know that when you look at this sort of thing if you're going to tackle somebody in a foreign country i don't know that there is ever a better or worse time. to do it so i wouldn't probably read too much into the timing question bill browder to what extent does the fact that no one has been apprehended i mean i know there are suspects and extradition requests that have been refused but no one's been apprehended for the live in. what extent is that given those who would wish to do away with political opponents the confidence to do so on british soil. well i think it's crucial so you had a a a dramatic and unbelievable situation in two thousand and six alexander litvinenko who was
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a british citizen at the time was killed by russia using nuclear materials which was proven at by a high court judge in a public inquiry and what were the and what was the consequence what did britain do to russia nothing absolutely nothing and so if you're vladimir putin and you're a guy who orders the liquidation and hit of enemies traitors and other people in your own country and in the west and you find a western country great britain that does absolutely nothing when you do a nuclear assassination the message to you is you can do whatever you want and that's not the only hit that vladimir putin and the f.s.b. have done in the u.k. there's been a number of other deaths including the death of alexander polygyny who is a a russian whistleblower loop blew the whistle on a massive f.s.b. financial scam and he dropped dead at the age of forty four in front of his house in weybridge surrey the police refused even investigated as
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a murder and so from from my perspective and from her the perspective of lattimer putin. this is a country where. assassinations can be carried out without any consequence and that i believe was a huge policy failure which has led to the situation we're in right now with mr scriptural and his daughter hold hanging on for dear life in a soul's very hospital bill you've become an enemy of law to be a person you're not russian of and you've received death threats does what happened in salzburg a few days ago give you pause for thought are you safe in britain. i don't believe in safe in britain at all if you look at this situation as as i said they can go around the russian government and go around killing with impunity well the main thing that gives me pause going forward is not the russians actions we know what they're capable of what gives me pause is what the british response is going to be if the british government doesn't respond forcefully and decisively in
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a way that really creates consequences for the putin regime after this assassination attempt then it's not safe for anybody who has anything bad to say about russia to live in the u.k. or i want to go into the politics of all of this in just a moment but any first of all that this talk about the the investigation obviously there's a lot that we the public will will not be privy to in fact we probably never know but what is actually going on right now in terms of the of the investigation into this incident. well if i were sitting behind a desk in m i five now i think i'd be trying to coordinate three prongs investigation the first one is the people on the street you know the call is going out to anyone who is in the city center at that time and they might think they know nothing but to give that statement to the police and also the police need to go through all the c.c.t.v. the other one of course and you know hats off to the u.k. agencies that they discovered what the substance was so quickly because that is
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core evidence is to try and narrow it down to precisely what type of nerve agent it was because that will give an indication about what sort of the birch trees around the world might be producing that specific nerve agent and how it might be acquired either legitimately or over the top web but the key thing as well is to get a warrant and go through his computers his phone calls his phone records everything which i presume they've already done because they are in his house at the moment to try and work out exactly what he's been involved in of the last eight years because as i said he was a busted flush when it came to intelligence if he'd been handed over voluntarily by the russians pardoned by the russians he was taken into the u.k. and questioned by m i six there is nothing really intelligence wise that can be taken or gained by either side so suggests to me very very strongly that this attack is something to do with what he might have been working on over the last eight years of also like to. to to argue against the idea that this is equivalent
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in the case because this guy had been pardoned by the russians he was allowed to come to the u.k. has given safe haven and a pension by my six he was not a threat let me and he was a very different case because we had someone who has fled to the u.k. for protection he was an active distant and active whistleblower and an active at the time visit death consultant for m i six so you'd been seen as much more of an enemy of the state than someone who'd been pardoned by the state and allowed to leave that state so yes i can understand the police response been very rapid. it's because they you know soon as you fly got the name in the history would have sent up a red flag of course they would respond in the same way as they might have done the case they would be more read about it to protect public safety but the equivalent stops there bill joy to come back on that but you did you can't compare the script . and i think. well i think that that's an extremely narrow and unhelpful analysis that what everybody has to understand about vladimir
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putin is that he is trying to keep in line many many hundreds of thousands of security service officials intelligence officers army people and none of them are motivated by ideology this is not a communist regime it's not a religious regime it's effectively a clip talk receive regime and so his only way of motivating people is through money is through it is through giving people the opportunity to steal money to shake people down to extort people and that's how people in his government have kept people loyal but the money is running out while president and sanctions are biting there's not as much money to go around anymore and so he's got to he's got to deal with people who no longer have have the main motivation to stay loyal and in that situation the main tool that he has to keep them loyal is absolute fear and the way to create absolute fear is to take a traitor like mr script all and say we're going to kill this traitor and not only we go kill him we're going to kill his family members and we're going to kill them
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in the most horrible public way and if anyone else decides they want to step out of line they're going to be killed in the same horrible way as well that is the way he creates loyalty his audience is not anybody else other than his own security services and that's the probably the main motivation for what this happened here today and to say that mr scripture was working on something and i have to jump in here e-mailer not only has yet to go ahead any i have to jump in here bill sorry this is very insulting to all the people who work in intelligence agencies and other security forces around the world when do you work in a village is a family five and i think you either have any years ago in the ninety's and twenty twenty five years ago when i was going to make a point when he worked there yeah yeah let me make a point then how is the timing relevant. so i joined up not for the pay not for the money. i joined because i actually had a sense of wanting to do something that was worthwhile something to help for text my fellow citizens and this was at the height of the ira bombing campaign in london
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and i think you know you do a great disservice bill you've got incredibly cynical view the everything's always about money it's not in my spin in the case it's critical because of course he did get i know a lot of emails but i know a lot about the many that go into maybe because i know how they've been dealing with money i know exactly what the putin regime is up to because i'm engaged with them in a full on fight about them stealing money about vladimir putin being involved in a major hundred million it's multi hundred million dollar felt and so i know exactly what's going on as of today you're still at twenty five years ago in your own experience ok and he just quickly got to get up and we'll talk twenty it's good and actually i'm quite aware i'm quite aware bill that you have been banned from the russia the russian federation so for decades because you were one of the chicago economists you went into assets to the country and the band apparently when i was manic for exposing corruption in russia if you know anything about my story.
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i've been convicted by a russian i do not know if i was raising money for stealing two hundred thirty million dollars ok. that's this move the discussion or because time and time is is is tight here. samuel green you case defense minister says that russia is becoming ever greater threat russia's being assertive russia is being aggressive he said or being careful not to blame russia for that for the scripts act and we have to change the way in which we deal with it because we can't be pushed around by another nation what do you make of that. well of that i think we have to look at that in the round the reality is that defense spending in this country has been cut rather dramatically in recent years and it doesn't look to improve and and to to a certain extent he's doing what defense ministers do in terms of of lobbying for. a budget and certainly there are arguments to be made and important arguments to be made about. you know what russia has done particularly in the european space in new
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crane you know obviously we've seen the rhetoric out of moscow recently with new missile systems and things like that so there are responses there is a degree of hyperbole to it when we hear things about you know the prospect of shutting down cyber networks energy systems and transport systems and other vital infrastructure in in the u.k. but what this all speaks to is on the one hand the recognition of russia's capabilities which should not be surprising to anybody but also really no trust whatsoever in russia's intentions right from a governmental standpoint from a societal sam partly standpoint of of the media in this country right it is very easy to come to to the media assumptions and conclusions about. russia's alleged role in this case and in other cases like it. simply because the track record that we've seen from russia in the state of the relationship is such
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that that it really does very little doubt in people's minds ok having said that the response to this right is not likely to be a military response a defense response and it's not likely to be if it's going to be effective and he kind of response that the u.k. can take on its own it's going to require allies ok bill if a freshman involved in this case is confirmed by british authorities. anglo russian really. are already pretty strained at the moment given the britain's already imposed sanctions of expelled diplomats what could the u.k. do to punish russia well this is where there's a big opportunity one of the things which the u.k. has a huge leverage in one area which is that the russian government officials and kremlin connected oligarchy come to london and buy properties in large sizes all over the most expensive districts of london and they value those properties they covet those
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properties and the one thing that can be done and is now possible to do based on the law is for the u.k. government to seize those properties and believe me the government doesn't care or the russian government doesn't care about a few diplomats being expelled they don't care about and on and exercisable extradition of their officials what they care about is if if their house on belgrave square gets confiscated and that's what the government should do and if they do that it will go immediately right up to putin and putin will understand that this is a place where you can't mess with anymore because there's real consequences at the moment putin doesn't think there's any consequences and in countries where there are consequences he doesn't do this type of thing and so so i'm recommending and i know many other members of parliament are recommending that that the magnitsky act should be imposed aggressively in response to this occasion. under fred we're out of time the news waits for no one we've got to wrap it up many thanks indeed to all of you bill browder and the national and samuel green and thank you for watching
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don't forget you can see the program any time just by going to the website at al-jazeera dot com for the discussion join us at our facebook page on facebook dot com forward slash a.j. inside story or join the conversation on twitter our handle at a.j. inside story from adrian finnigan and the whole team here and thanks for watching we'll see you again on. we understand the differences and the similarities of cultures across the way around. so no matter where you call home al-jazeera will bring in the news and current of families that matter to you. al-jazeera. a suspected money laundering operation but this time it was different. an accidental discovery the wharfs
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