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tv   Newsnight  BBC News  March 23, 2018 11:15pm-11:44pm GMT

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we decided to callback our european ambassador in moscow. this is an extraordinary measure, we never took it before. this time, although the uk is leaving the eu, the continent still stands together. the next 12 months could fray those alliances. then she will make this departure for the final time. that's a summary of the news, newsday is coming up at midnight — now on bbc news it's time for newsnight. and you thought the age of chivalry was dead. and looking at the salisbury poisoning. translation: reconsider this is an attack to european sovereignty. while harmony
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reigned in brussels the knives came out at the labour party were owen smith was sacked. in california, it is not quite boring bad news for technology but it is certainly raining. it is not all thumbs up here. many are starting to ask themselves profound questions about what they do. we will ask what if anything has changed this past week. good evening. spare a thought this weekend for russian intelligence officers doing the same. from
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monday, according to donald tusk, we can expect some of those spooks to be sent packing. some countries like greece and bulgaria is still relu cta nt to greece and bulgaria is still reluctant to act but all of them signed up to date to a communique saying it was highly likely that russia was to blame for the gas attack. downing street regards the action taken as a signal a positive signal. it is the centre of european power. whatever shape brexit eventually takes, we will always have a relationship with the power—brokers who meet at least four times a year in this building. the outlines of that relationship
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have become a little clearer over the past 2a hours. as we saw how the uk will diverge from the eu in some ways but remain bound into the european family in others. we know the uk wants a close relationship on trade, but we could be kept at a distance. the eu guidelines agreed today for the next stage of the brexit negotiations state... "we will only hug you close on trade if you relax your red lines." it appears that relations may well be close on security, regardless of the outcome of the brexit talks, judging by the strong support for theresa may on russia. the eu's two most powerful leaders were instrumental in rallying support for the uk on russia. but on brexit, there was a more familiar tune. translation: we still regret
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the process of brexit but we have succeeded in moving forward together as 27 on this issue. we have adopted the guidelines for the coming months and we are going to try to maintain this united position. we know that the uk can no longer be in the single market and the customs union, but we will not let ourselves be divided on all these points. and we will try and reach agreed positions during the negotiations. time is tight and we must take decisions byjune. translation: we have reconfirmed our commitment to the single market. it is necessary to remember that this cannot be cut up into sections and there is no choice between different sectors of the single market. when you are outside the single market, your are out of all its elements. that does not mean an ambitious agreement is not possible, but we have to avoid ambiguities and ourgoal remains upholding the integrity of the single market and the preservation
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of the eu, which we will achieve by remaining united. so this was a positive eu summit for theresa may. the first time in years that the uk's relationship with the eu was not downing street's primary concern. and eu leaders showed that they can set aside their regrets over brexit and engage with the uk. but in just over a year's time, the uk won't — formally, at least — be at the table for a discussion as momentous as the one that spilled into the early hours of this morning on russia. of course, the uk will not be in the same position as it was before. it's better to sit at a table of an international organisation and be able to influence the decision—making process. but once again, i deeply regret that the british are leaving the european union but i have to accept reality. and if you leave the eu, you can cooperate closely with the eu. but it's a pity that you can no
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longer sit at the table during these decision—making processes. but even if the uk had already left the european union, this country, this great nation, would have received the same wave of solidarity from france, germany and others, because we understand this attack is an attack on our way of life. one down, four summits to go. at next year's summer gathering, the uk will be out of the room. but it is unlikely to find itself a stranger in this town. joining me now is ambassador kurt volker from the mccain institute. he is a former us ambassador to nato and is the us special representative to ukraine. we will discuss the security aspects of this. let us start with the outcome today in brussels. downing street painting this is a great
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triumph, is it or is this the least you can expect from close friends in a situation like this? the context i put this in is nota uk and europe context but rather europe and russia. what we have seen is that even though it is difficult for europe to agree on sanctions or increasing sanctions, here you have a case where europe decided to take a step together, even if it is only recalling the eu ambassador to moscow. this is an important signal to moscow that europe is looking at this issue and seeing it the way the uk and others are seeing this, which is russia crossing a line and that is significant. you mentioned that sometimes the eu does not get its act together on sanctions in the russian context. what difference would it make when the uk is not at that table? that day will be upon us fairly soon? it has always been the american view that the eu is better with the uk at the table but that is not going to be the case
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going forward and we have seen that even in this case, where the uk is seen to be exiting over the process of a couple of years, the eu nonetheless stands up on principle on something here that it views as significant in dealing with russia. that is a major thing and i think russia will take notice. you have been at the table at nato with many of the same countries. you mentioned recalling the eu ambassador from russia. do you also expect some of these countries, at least, to expel russian spies? that is one of the things that we are being told could well happen. i do expect that, i don't expect that to be uniform, for every single eu country to act exactly the same way. but i do expect a number of eu countries to make some expulsions in solidarity with the uk, some larger and some smaller. they are doing so anticipating that russia will react
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in kind. even from the us, you have seen an increase in sanctions over the past year and as recently as last month, you will see additional things from the united states as well. you mentioned your policy or your view that not having the uk at the table in the eu could affect security matters and could make things more complex. will this shift the focus more on to nato? a lot of these discussions which we can have in the eu context or have to migrate to the nato forum and will that carpetgate things diplomatically? i would say because of that is actually russia's behaviour, not so much brexit. but the fact that russia is presenting a new kind of security challenge to europe and the alliance to the united states, nato is a place where we talk about those things and deal with those things and you will see some renewed focus on me going forward as a result of that.
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how far is president trump, do you think, sending the right messages, congratulating president putin and not mentioning the salisbury attack? apparently departing from the brief he was meant to speak to on that telephone call to president putin? there was that four power statement about the salisbury attack, there was a phone call subsequently. what the us is trying to do is be very firm in dealing with russia, trying to talk with russia from a position of strength and that is true whether this is about syria or the inf treaty on nuclear weapons or ukraine. at the same time, leave an opening to actually make progress with russia if we can. that depends on russian behaviour and not really on the us or western behaviour, but we have to kick the door open. —— keep.
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i read president trump's behaviour trump's behaviour in that context, we have accommodated set of things and nobody wants conflict with russia but at the same time we cannot condone its behaviour. you talk about the open door and russia accuses theresa may of whipping up anti—russian attitudes in the eu today. that has been one of the comments they made. would you accept, even if you do not accept that, that the open door is getting narrower in terms of those relationships? i would say that i think, when russia says something, it is important to look past it because they say things for the purpose of influencing our own thinking and policies, not because there is any basis to what they say. things are pretty bad in terms of those relationships? they are and that is the second point, this depends upon russia recognising that it does not want to take things to such an extreme. thus far it is very disappointing and frustrating to see the way that russia has reacted to the very serious concerns expressed by the uk and the united states and
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the european union and others. about a wide range of issues. i would hope that after his election, president putin might want to step towards the rest of the international community and try to repair this before things get worse. we will see if he does just that. thank you forjoining us. well, of course, there was much other business at today's brussels summit — not least on the subject of brexit. members agreed terms for a transition, and the 27 vowed to defend the integrity of the single market in opposition to what they regard as theresa may's attempt to cherry—pick advantageous trade terms. but back in london, trouble was brewing over brexit in the labour party. a call this morning by the party's northern ireland spokesman, owen smith, for a second referendum had by this evening got him sacked byjeremy corbyn. nick watt is with us.
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was it inevitable that owen smith would have to go? after making that call in the newspaper article? his relations withjeremy corbyn have never been easier to challenging for the leadership in 2016 and is difficult relations continued into the shadow cabinet thatjeremy corbyn believed owen smith was not very collegiate. he made interventions on brexit without informing other members of the front bench team and so you defy collective responsibility and you know what happens. you have to leave. owen smith will believe this is brexit, not a normal issue so normal conventions should not apply and he believes brexit is dangerous for the uk economy but on the issue of northern ireland, he believes it is very destabilising to the politics of northern ireland. and also friends of owen smith complain that he found out about his sacking from journalists and they appear to know beforejeremy corbyn
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phoned him and that account is disputed by the leadership. there is another story involving the labour leader tonight and that goes back to him liking something on facebook in 2012. a caricature. tell us about that. this was a mural by the los angeles—based artist and in 2012, jeremy corbyn on facebook sympathised with this artist when he said that his new role would be whitewashed and jeremy corbyn said you should not be taking public art down. jeremy corbyn was challenged about this because the mural is seen to depict some classic anti—semitic tropes and he issued a statement saying it is anti—semitic but i was defending this on public art crimes. , grounds.jeremy corbyn was told by labour mps this does not go far enough so he issued a stronger statement saying that he regrets that he did not look further at this mural
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that he was making the argument over on public art crimes on public art grounds and he said it is disturbing and it is anti—semitic. lucianoa berger, the labour mp who is jewish, issued a response saying this is wholly inadequate and it fails to understand the hurt and the anguish that is felt about anti—semitism and it is what you said the artist says his mural is not anti—semitic. thank you for that. before we came on air i spoke to chuka umunna, the former leadership contender and ardent remainer. i began by asking him for his reaction to owen smith's sacking. well, i think it's a great shame. owen has been a superb northern ireland shadow secretary of state. his views on the european union, his advocacy of a people's vote on the brexit deal, his advocacy of us staying in the single market and the customs union were vocal positions he held before his appointment injune of last year.
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so, it's quite bizarre that he should be sacked from his post, not only for expressing views which were well known about before his appointment, but also for expressing views which the overwhelming majority of our members and also our voters support. but you know the rules. he may have said that before he joined the shadow cabinet, but he can't be just freelancing policy on a second referendum, can he? i mean, jeremy corbyn had to dismiss him, surely? but if that was an issue, i don't understand why he was appointed in the first place. and it's not as if once you're appointed that you can pretend away views that you've had in the past. and jeremy has always prided himself on, you know, being consistent and true to his principles. it would be bizarre if he was to ask owen to adopt a different approach. and it's very clear, of course, in the labour party that there are a range of views — just as there are, frankly,
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amongst the different constituencies that voted labour in the last general election. but he knew, come on, when he went into the shadow cabinet that he could not have the same freedom to advocate things like a second referendum that he had done beforehand, he must have known that? it's not unprecedented, but we were promised that politics would be done a different way. i think this is a slightly exceptional case, because owen has expressed very strong views very vocally on these particular issues, very much in line with where our membership is, before he was appointed to the post. and so you would have thought that if that was a real problem, and he can't pretend away views that he's held, you would have thought that he wouldn't have been appointed in the first place. so, look, the bottom line is, he has been sacked, it is a great shame, but i do hope he will continue to campaign for us to stay in the single market, stay in the customs union, and for us to, you know, people to have the right to a people's vote on the deal
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at the end of this process, because that's basically what our members and voters want. lastly, i just want to ask you about this affair of the mural. this goes back to 2012. it was a caricature of some bankers, many people thought it was anti—semitic. tonight, jeremy corbyn has put out a statement saying it was awful, anti—semitic and he never should have liked it in the first place. is that the end of the matter as far as you're concerned? well, i think... i don't know all of the particular details about particular facebook posts and his comments. but i mayjust make a general observation, not specifically about jeremy, but about the labour party and the way it has been dealing with anti—semitism. there clearly is an issue around anti—semitism in the labour party. it isn't that a majority of our members are anti—semitic, but there's definitely, amongst a minority, and real problem here, which is not in keeping a real problem here, which is not in keeping with the values of the labour party. and the way the labour party has frankly dealt with this issue over the last couple of years,
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in my view, has been shameful. and i simply think that if we were dealing with a situation where we had these kind of examples of hatred and discrimination emanating in and around the labour party say with regard to black people, i would not stand for that kind of thing, and i'd be very surprised, actually, if the labour party dealt with kinds of incidents of racism like that in that way. i think it is a crying shame. and it is something that frankly is unacceptable, the way that we've been dealing with anti—semitism in our party. and we really, really must get our house in order. and to those who think, oh, well, you know, you're just saying this to have a go at the leadership — no, i'm not. and frankly that is sticking your head in the sand nonsense. there clearly is an issue here. our values and our principles demand that we deal with it. and we haven't been doing so properly to date. chuka umunna, thank you very much forjoining us. tonight, cambridge analytica
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is being searched by 18 enforcement officers working for the information commissioner, following this week's allegations that ca used people's data to help political campaigns without their consent. but it may be over the pond that the largest reverberations are felt — namely, by facebook, whose share price tumbled in the wake of the revelations, and whose chief executive, mark zuckerberg, now finds himself invited to appear in front of lawmakers in the us. so are issues of privacy, tax avoidance and monopolistic behaviour about to create a perfect storm for the tech giants? we've uploaded our technology editor, david grossman, to silicon valley to find out. music. california doesn't look nearly so lovely in the rain. just as the people who work in silicon valley aren't used to dealing with the wet,
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well, the big tech companies aren't used to a deluge of bad publicity. they normally bask in the warm glow of the world's approval. well, not anymore. you know, for the longest time, people in silicon valley have been looked at as, you know, heroes for technology, moving the world forward, etc. and all of a sudden, people are starting to feel a distaste in their mouth that's typically been reserved for spaces like, you know, washington dc politics, or even wall street. and that's a pretty new shift in the popular mindset, and something that i don't think a lot of tech founders had ever expected. the huge thumbs up here at facebook‘s hq at menlo park portrays the positive image that the tech companies work so hard to create. events over the last few weeks have put a huge dent in that. and in that core founding principle of silicon valley — that technology is going to make the world a better place.
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i think for many parts of the american body politic, trump is seen as an existential threat to american democracy. and they kind of see zuck as the guy who put him there. really? yeah. oh, i think so, yeah. and, you know, they're not completely wrong. and that's not how zuck, facebook ceo mark zuckerberg, wants to be remembered — the man who donated $75 million to this san francisco hospital wants facebook‘s moral capital to be every bit as impressive as his bank balance. but the cambridge analytica scandal is eating his reputation. om malik was one of san francisco's original tech bloggers. he's now a tech investor. he says the scandal is a signal that the valley has to change its ways. people in silicon valley have not woken up to their own responsibilities. we are now the mainstream. we are not the outsiders. we are the people. and i think the people in the valley still do not understand that we have the responsibility
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of figuring out what the impact of our technology efforts is on real people. nobody in silicon valley that i've met was surprised at what was done. indeed, the cambridge analytica story originally broke in 2015 — but that of course was before the result of the us election. san francisco and silicon valley are the most democrat—supporting parts of california. and california is the most democrat—supporting state in the union. the idea that technologies developed here may have helped give donald trump the white house — well, it's that fact that is causing this profound existential soul—searching. antonio garcia martinez is a former product manager at facebook. he left in 2013. the technologies we're talking about in the case of trump, and the cambridge analytica story, are the exact same technologies that, you know,
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amazon and other large retailers have been using to sell you consumer goods for years now, right? but now they're being used to sell you trump and brexit and whatever else. and i think people's reaction to that, when that's the product being sold, is very, very different than just the consumer goods. suddenly their tolerance for that sort of tracking, unlike, ‘well, you've got to pay for the internet somehow so i'll put up with that', that tolerance kind of goes away when you've got trump in power. one of silicon valley's undoubted strengths is that you have all the big players in one place, bouncing ideas off each other. but is that too why things have gone wrong? i've arranged to talk to a former senior executive at the dating app tinder, who left to start a new venture well away from silicon valley. so, tell me, why did you leave silicon valley? yeah, i mean, look, ithink silicon valley is a special place in terms of the ecosystem that allows people to take risks and do big things. but even for me as an entrepreneur,
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when you start to spend time there every day, people are, you know, echoing the same sentiments — the biggest opportunity right now is blockchain or bitcoin or ai — you just lose sight of what the real issues people are facing are, and the real consequences of what we're doing, because everybody around you is part of that same bubble. if you have a high—paying tech job that the robots aren't about to automate away and you can afford to live in a place like palo alto, well, the world probably looks a pretty fantastic place. if, on the other hand, you live on a town thousands of miles from here, where the local newspaper's closed because it couldn't sell any advertising, the cab firm's gone bust because of uber, the flat above you has been turned into party central by airbnb and you're worried that your democracy is being subverted by fake news, well, the world and the tech world probably looks very different. if there's one sort of tragic flaw in the silicon valley, you know, on the election result is making
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people really wake up and think about what exactly is going on here, and is this something that we actually want to embrace wholeheartedly, or do we need to do something to try and mitigate against the potential risks associated with this vast collection of our personal data? there are some big issues and philosophies underpinning this, aren't there? the philosophies of facebook, mark zuckerberg, radical transparency, is that unstoppable, or do you agree with karen that this is now a serious obstacle? i think probably transparency in the physical realm looks pretty unstoppable, the cameras are getting cheaper and can collect more and more data. in the digital domain,
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it is still up for grabs. you have more data and better means to analyse it, you have cryptography becoming more deployed. it is an open question which of those will without. which of those will win out. what does this idea of radical transparency mean? just for viewers who haven't heard it before, and how important is it as a philosophy underpinning these big tech businesses? well, you can think of an extreme scenario where, say, everything that we do and say is recorded and analysable and available to everybody. you could live in a completely transparent society. i think there is a number of... no privacy at all? for the sake of analytic clarity, it is easy to analyse in the extreme and then you can think about compromises. there's a bunch of negatives and big positives on that. to me, the biggest considerations
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for and against, are slightly different than what most people will think of. you think privacy, we don't want pictures of ourselves in the shower. 0n the other hand, there is a terrorist who might bomb a bus, we need to have law enforcement looking at that. long—term if we are thinking about this, on the one hand, the possibility of totalitarian systems benefiting from being able to surveil everybody and detect this and dissent networks and so forth. 0n the plus side, if there are powerful new technologies, maybe something is discovered in a biotech that makes it very easy for an individual to destroy the world, in that scenario how do you prevent the world from being destroyed? the only way would be to keep track of what everybody is doing at every point in time. karen, you mentioned people's unease about what is going on in the elections. but clearly nick is going a whole lot further in terms of following this radical transparency concept to its logical conclusions.
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i mean, is he right, do you think? is that where we are headed? or is the kind of disquiet that you've mentioned going to put a brake on this in some sense?
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