tv BBC Newsnight WHUT December 11, 2010 7:00pm-7:30pm EST
>> "bbc newsnight" is presented by kcet, los angeles. funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. and union bank. >> union bank offers unique insight and expertise in a range
of industries. what can we do for you? >> we are a nation of explorers. we seek new ways of living, of thinking, and of expressing ourselves. we take risks. we learn from experience. and we keep moving forward. that is why we encourage and celebrate the explorer in all of us. >> and now "bbc newsnight." >> amidst allegations of -- could it all finally be over for silvio berlusconi?
>> to some, he reminds the -- remains a model of -- to others he becomes a national embarrassment. >> we speak to the televangelist to is taking on al qaeda in yemen. >> it is very important. [unintelligible] >> the question about silvio berlusconi is not will he survive next week, it is more how will he survive as the prime minister for the last 16 years one day he is hosting parties with teenage girls and their relationship questions about vladimir putin. berlusconi battles on. peter marshall has been investigating him.
♪ >> they say a glimpse of naple'' could kill you. but dtv rubbish piled on the streets that is more likely. -- but it is the rubbish piled on the streets. >> it is the politicians' fault. >> they are completely useless. it lies uncollected, the result of a standoff between government and organized crime. for years, the mafia ran waste disposal dumping illegally where they wished. two years ago silvio berlusconi's party was reelected promising to sort things out. they said they would clean up the city.
the model spoke the truth. the rubbish disappeared for a while. now the rubbish is backed on every corner. the rubbish on the streets grounds up a dreadful year for a silvio berlusconi. they have added to the sex scandals in the links to the mafia. it plays out like a far-fetched film. that is the story of zero -- story of a silvio berlusconi's career. he began as a cruise ship crooner and still retains the heir of 19 -- of nightclub owners. he used to control the media and the best football team. by the 1990 policy was running the country.
>> absolutely hated. [unintelligible] for him, the most successful individually is [unintelligible] everybody listens to him. >> he conquered the hearts and minds. [unintelligible] he speaks to us. >> but now things are going wrong. in naples, there has been no where to put the rubbish after berlusconi cancelled a landfall site -- land fill site. many say berlusconi has been distracted. >> i've think berlusconi was supposed to come to naples on the rubbish emergency.
he used it as an excuse to visit young girls. >> this girl was just 18. berlusconi was 73. >> at that moment in 2009 all of the -- he has been hit by the sexual scandal. >> within weeks, a professional escort was telling of wild parties that the palace. >> the second time on the evening of barack obama was elected president i asked him which bed do you want me to go to? i asked if i should go to vladimir putin bus sped -- bladimir putin's bed. i spent the whole leg with the prime minister. -- the whole night with the
prime minister. we talked and we joked. it is from a different planet. he is full of life. he has more energy than a person of his age should have. >> tales of the energetic premier scandalized some, but the author of a new biography shows others admire him. >> there is something about him. maybe the way you look at a girl and you marry her. you are far too young but he lingered too much. >> we went to his film company run by his close friend. he says it is natural for girls to go to berlusconi's parties. >> they want to be an actress, they want to be stars on the tv. they want to improve the situation so they go to the
parties. >> a belly dancer arrested for theft was released after a boat -- berlusconi's intervention. the girl said she had been to his party's and he had given her a 7000 euros, but they had not had sex. what about the age of the girls? does that worry you? >> [unintelligible] >> 17. >> but berlusconi has nothing to do with these girls. >> some are 18. >> 18 is not a young girl. >> the prime minister is not a young man. he is 74. >> [unintelligible]
everywhere there are parties with young girls. >> for berlusconi, sex and politics are equal passions. his tv empire was erected on girly shows. now he controls six of the top the seven channels. he has changed the way of italians think. >> they answer they would like to become a showgirl. they always have these options. >> do you think that has been the way the culture has changed? >> yes. >> next week's vote has put berlusconi under pressure. he will relish the fight. one year ago campaigning in lun, his teeth were smashed by a man wielding a replica of the city cathedral. his reaction was typical. now berlusconi was indomitable.
he was as defiant as he was and said he was fine. he used the incident against his critics, saying his attacker was insane but nothing like as crazy as those who have repeatedly accused him of corruption. this is an estate of hotels and schools and the headquarters of berlusconi's tv empire. this is the foundation for his billions. critics say berlusconi has never explained where he found the investment initially. for yields -- for years this was berlusconi's right-hand man. he was named as a berlusconi's go-between for the mafia. >> he has nothing to hide. one day berlusconi will talk
about these issues publicly. >> berlusconi who says he was interviewed by the police 600 times angrily denies mafia links. then there is the case of the person who lived in this house for two years and was said to be his estate manager. he was also a killer. >> he was working with berlusconi, but berlusconi did not know this. if people working for him are being condemned for corruption and other things -- >> this is a sad terrorist no longer welcome on berlusconi's tv channels -- this is>> see the news unfold. -- this is a satirist.
[speaking foreign language] >> with the control over the media -- you can manipulate public opinion as much as you want. >> on the very day next week when berlusconi faces a vote in parliament, the constitutional court will decide whether to lift his prime ministerial community. the delegations of his links towards organized crime. >> the fact that you lost to me the question you assume -- you asked me the question.
in italy, many people believe the referees cannot be believed. if this has been going on for 20 years how can you dragged it along for 10 years? many people don't trust them. they don't trust the legal system. >> there are new questions about the close friendship with vladimir putin. wikileaks revealed a cable referring to a nefarious connection. the cable says sources believe berlusconi is profiting personally from many of the energy deals between italy and russia. how does berlusconi survive? they made up their minds about their premier long ago. >> i think there is a shadow line between complicity and
embarrassment. there is another line between embarrassment and discussed. it is definitely passed the one between complicity and embarrassment, but he has not crossed the second one yet. >> he has seven lives like a cat. >> just these seven. ♪ >> even the rules of nature do not apply for silvio berlusconi. he could be gone next week, but with the opposition split, he could go on forever. >> could yemen be the next afghanistan?
is this the base of al qaeda in the arabian peninsula recently the source of the underwear bomber? the u.s. has doubled its aid to yemen in the past year as increasing number of military advisers are on the ground. there are wars being fought from the hearts and lungs of the youth -- hearts and minds of the youth. he takes a battle against al qaeda to the yemeni heartland. >> it is long been said of yemen that it is unconquerable, but a new battle is emerging. if you look at the map of terror over the past year it seems like all roads lead to yemen. an impoverished state at the tip of the arabian peninsula. it is also the location for a
one-man mission to challenge the ideology that fuels al qaeda. [inaudible] >> this is an accountant turned muslim televangelist. he is like a rock star. more viewers than oprah winfrey and 2 million facebook friends with a tv show model on "the apprentice." he has come to yemen to tackle al qaeda in its heartland. he plans to train thousands of activists to promote tolerance.
and is set up a project to help the board he sees as most susceptible to propaganda. there is already a hitch. the president was supposed to be here to back the project. he has not turned up. are you disappointed the president is not here? >> we think that [inaudible] >> the president has plenty to worry about. this is the coastline which was once a british protectorate. when the british left, its location could have been made -- could have made it the next singapore. the fishermen bringing in their evening cash with a hand to mouth existence.
>> is it difficult for people to find a job? >> some people don't have a job. >> tonight there is a distraction. yemen is hosting a local tournament that nearly avoided disaster when people threatened to pull out. beyond the stadium, the national flag of yemen [inaudible] a tribal society, a civil war nobody can remember the cause of, a struggle in the south and rampant destruction. chaos of which al qaeda is thriving. for 32 years this man has held it together. the president says rule in yemen is like dancing on the heads of statnakes,
he rarely speaks to western media but made an exception to us. >> it is widely acknowledged yemen is the home of al qaeda. how much control do you have of yemen? if you are in control, why had he not take al qaeda out? >> why should yemen be expected to get rid of terrorism before others have? why hasn't the u.s. and its allies gotten rid of terrorism in afghanistan and iraq? >> because yemen is a haven for terrorists. on the contrary, we are far from it. >> you famously said last year ruling yemen was like dancing on the heads of snakes. how typical has then become in recent years? >> it depends on who is doing the dancing.
such confidence maybe this place. american analysts say it yemen is a failed state. recent wikileaks transcripts suggested the president tried to suppress details of american military strikes. diplomats say the resources to fight al qaeda are being diverted to fight domestic rivals in the north. they stood to the walls of the old city are wanted posters of al qaeda members. once the severed hands of criminals were hung from the city gates, but there has been less success apprehending al qaeda. >> this blanket once belonged to osama bin laden. it was a gift to this man, his former bodyguard until he turned his back on the organization. he says even he as shocked by the aggression of today's al qaeda in yemen.
>> this generation has to anchor from the government. this is very dangerous. their ideas are [inaudible] it is more difficult to reason with them. they are more ignorant than previous generations. >> he warns al qaeda is determined to draw american shoulders -- american soldiers into conflict. >> they are forcing americans to intervene. like what happened in iraq. >> at a huge mosque rising above the poverty, we are waiting for the islamic superstar televangelist. inside, it is humming with anticipation. this is his big moment. his sermon against extremism. thousands have turned out.
>> to 50,000 today and millions in the televisions. all will listen to this speech today. [unintelligible] this is our islam. >> every father and every mother must shield their children from the reach of extremism. there is no dissent. these are fans. but it appears the preacher has his work cut out. speaking to people outside, bay appeared more angry with the west than al qaeda. >> america says yemen is the not true. yemen is a civilized land.
>> another says the west is exaggerating the size of al qaeda. you can count their number on one hand. >> is a group of educated by the west women reveal why this message of moderation may succeed. >> they have not even read about medicine. they don't know anything. they think that is us. he is not like others. it is like no boundaries. >> i think he is trying to solve the crisis instead of [unintelligible] trying to make it easier. i think he is doing it in a very good way.
>> he has a clear understanding of how al qaeda recruits the young. >> if you find somebody without a job, along of energy and you talk to him into it to show them some footage from iraq or afghanistan, and tell them do you want to be happy? he will not be happy because no one will listen to you. come to this. it is like that. >> how do you challenge that? >> [unintelligible] to build their future. >> it will take more than dreams to approve al qaeda. the u.s. is trying hundreds of millions of dollars in yemen to combat al qaeda. but that money is used specifically to counter terrorism. around the country, everyone has
said the same thing. unless something is done to tackle the poverty, then there will be no solution. yemen is the poorest country in the middle east on an oil supply and rapidly running out of water. it is a lonely voice which echoes across the valley that meets this medieval town. in happier times torus would arrive by the busload with the dollars. -- tourists would i arrived by the busload. how many tourists today? >> we are the only tourists. >> bad for business. it is the same story in the neighboring town. al qaeda is bad for tourism. >> [unintelligible]
people are struggling? >> of course. like me. >> the televangelist has breached his bandwagon in yemen. with an impromptu display. his message of coexistence with the west reflected in the england match. [applause] >> the message of today of this game, it is very important message. [unintelligible] not clash. >> even this whirlwind of modern islam has struggled to fund the project. arab donors fear of violent retribution. he had death threats himself. osama bin laden's former bodyguard says it will take more
than a preacher to break al qaeda's embrace with the west. the war has passed the point of no return. >> osama bin laden has -- he said that we in the west had entered a valley of no return. there is only survival or death. i don't blame the british or americans. it is a matter of distance. >> it is the movement for moderation fails, this turkish ceremony -- it marks the spot where tribesmen fell to the advances of the ottoman empire 500 years ago. the turks said yemen was a land of pain best left alone. >> that is all for this week. goodbye.
>> funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. and union bank. >> union bank has put its global financial strength to work for a wide range of companies. what can we do for you? >> "bbc newsnight" was presented by kcet, los angeles.