tv BBC Newsnight WHUT December 4, 2011 8:00am-8:30am EST
>> union bank has put its financial strength to work for a wide range of companies. what can we do for you? >> and now, "bbc newsnight." >> the uprising in this area has been driven by internet and mobile technology, but technology has also been used to crush it. we examine the role of private british companies offering cutting edge technologies to regimes. we talked to most powerful soldier in the world about afghanistan and iran and whether the u.s. military he commands can defeat afghanistan. >> they will never be destroyed. the taliban are part of the fabric of the part of the world, and they will have to be dealt with. >> martin scorsese, a fell after the politics. >> "casino" was a political film. the amount of excess is nothing that is never enough, until it finally explodes. ♪
>> syria is now at a state of civil war, a u.n. official said this week. it is estimated that more than 4,000 people have been killed by pro-government forces since march. but who is supplying president assad and other oppressive regimes with the technology to hunt down the dissenters? an investigation has discovered that the british company based in oxfordshire has been implicated in the sale of state of the art technology to syria, and it is not the only british company which has a role in allowing despotic regimes access to cutting edge technologies to help them spy on their citizens. here is the report. >> the arab spring. egypt. libya. now, syria. popular uprisings fueled by new technology, coordinated using
mobile phones, the internet, text messages, and tweets. these pictures captured last week from syria spread around the globe on the the world wide web. but now the very technologies that helped spark these revolutions are being used to brush them. >> technology can be every bit as lethal as the bullets from a munitions company. >> brighton beach on the sussex trust, an unlikely venue to host the hub of dissent. but the current syrian popular uprising is organized on an international scale. here in brighton beach, this man plays his part. >> the arab spring has turned into winter in syria. we have more than 20,000 people in prison.
4500 deboarded. people are struggling on a daily basis. >> he has no permanent address. he goes from place to place using friends' addresses. using their internet connections, laptops, and computers, fearful that he is being monitored by the syrian security services here on british soil. >> hello? >> he maintains a daily contact with friends and colleagues in syria, helping to disseminate information about developments in his country. such has been at their success that even the cyber activist operating behind closed doors, those uploading images of demonstrations, are now being targeted, too. >> the people who are usually using the internet to communicate with us are now at more risk of being arrested by the regime that people actually on the streets but this is
because we believe that the syrian regime has evidence and has access to software supplied by western companies that enables them to actually follow those users and locate them. >> we have learned that syria has been provided with technology produced by the british-owned company here. this is its sales pitch. >> asks us to retain telecom debt has become a part to law enforcement and intelligence services in their fight against terrorism. >> we asked them for an interview with the chief executive. he confirmed that the company supplied telecom software to an italian company last year. it knew it was part of a bigger contract with syria. >> our software does not actively monitor up -- or capture data. that is done with the telecommunications software and our software is designed so that
data, when requested by a police force, can efficiently and safely and have integrity and be passed to the police force. >> but you're sending it to a nation states or you're providing it to nation states with a police force do not have a good track record. if we look at syria, there have been problems there for many years. >> as a company, we ensure that whoever we sell to, we ensure that we follow eu regulations and guidelines. our customers are telecommunicate -- telecommunications companies but a quick to say you follow the letter of the law, but isn't there a moral responsibility? what's when we see situations like syria, we're absolutely concerned. there is more responsibility. again, we do not have the benefit of hindsight to look back and retroactively remove our software. >> he admits that the company does not know if it's a product has been supplied to other authoritarian regimes.
we showed him the interview we did. >> we believe the syrian regime, we have evidence that the syrian origin has access to software. >> from what i hear on this report, none of our software would be involved in that. it would not be the software to do the tracking down and the finding of people. second, absolutely -- when we see activities like this, we absolutely stop doing business with anyone contributing to this. >> he agreed that there was a need for tighter regulation of the industry. >> an industry which now house dictators and democracies like. >> wikileaks, with prevacid international, launched a data base in the telling the scale of the electronic surveillance industry. it is worth more than 3 billion pounds a year, with more than 160 companies in 25 countries.
and it is not that hard to find. this is the international trade fair held in paris a few weeks ago. we went along. there were sniper rifles, machine guns, weapons, and military hardware for sale, and an entire section was devoted to surveillance. >> we reject the view that government suppression of the internet, phone networks, and social media at times of unrest is acceptable. britain will always be on the side of people aspiring for political and economic freedom, the middle east and around the world. >> sentiments from the foreign secretary. protection -- but actions speak louder than words. "newsnight" and the bureau of investigative journalism have been looking at the role of u.k.-based companies exporting state of the art technology which can be put to use by questionable regimes.
this one said to have sold tracking and monitoring technology to indonesia. gamma group, and a third party of a remote monitoring technology to president mubarak 's regime in egypt. it in technology systems international, essex, some checking and double-tracking devices to saudi arabia, who it says wanted to buy the best of british. and creativity software sucreativityrrey, so tracking technology to a state-controlled mobile phone network in iraq. and it is creativity software's involvement has prompted concerns from leading, the best politicians. they have asked dozens of questions in the house of lords. he cites the case of an iranian journalist tortured in jail. >> he was subjected not lead to
physical abuse, but the detailed all of the conversations that he had had, and they were able to say who he has met as a result of using technology that has been sold to the iranian regime. my concern that it is not just iran but the hold of the region that we have been aiding and abetting the despot's of the people that the human activists have been trying to replace in the arab spring. >> the details are not known. but the persistent questioning as emerged that it had a stamp of approval from gchq. >> i found it extraordinary that an answer to a question i tabled, that the government conceded that an agency operating out of gchq held a meeting with creativity software, and discussed a dual application of this technology, and then nothing at all was done to deter the export of technology that could be used to abuse human rights activist,
to arrest democracy activist, and could lead to people being tortured in iranian prisons. >> we contacted all of the companies named in our investigation. creativity software confirmed that its commercial engagement started in 2009, but says that it was not deployed until 2011. it says any connection with alleged human rights abuses is clearly erroneous. hit in technology, it confirms that it supplied tracking technology to saudi arabia. there were repeated requests for comment. they have yet to reply. gamma group said it that it did not supply is this a the tracking technology to egypt. the deal with syria has now been terminated by this cabinet. the italian business partner says the business was installed but not operational.
as the protests in syria continue, cyber activists are looking at new ways to avoid detection, fully aware that a growing number of western companies are successfully selling, monitoring and tracking technology, to whoever is >> while no british government minister was available to speak to us, we were given this statement. european foreign ministers have decided that the eu should ban the export of internet and telephone monitoring technology and software to the syrian government. we are considering further the situation with regard to iran. all export controls are kept under constant review and the extent to which they apply to surveillance equipment is something we are actively considering. of course, all controlled exports are reviewed against strict criteria including eu and u.n. sanctions regimes. well, how to tackle rush seems like iran and syria may well be on the mind of the most powerful military man in the world.
but martin dempsey, the new chair of the joint chiefs of staff, has taken control of the u.s. military facing huge cuts in its budget. the defense secretary said in the additional cuts would turn the country into a paper tiger. could this be the beginning of the end of america's global dominance? we will hear from the man himself i'm the best in a moment. first, our diplomatic editor -- >> cc and unenviable job, tackling wars while a country takes an act to its military budget. in the timber, and general martin dempsey got the top u.s. forces job, a globetrotting mission 14 enemies and trying not to let down friends. but his criticism said the budget deficit is america's biggest threat, and that hardly helps the new man protect his money. >> whether or not he was right, the problem with that
formulation from the defense department's point of view is the only thing the defense department can do to address that threat is to cut its own budget. that happened, and now general dempsey says you cannot afford to cut it further without imposing other national security problems on ourselves. >> the pentagon spends $700 billion per year and is already facing $400 billion in cuts over the next eight years. but the federal budget crisis means that the team sent to run the military this summer is now being threatened with the same again or even more, prompting the defense secretary to raise the specter of a hollow military. >> it is a ship without sailors. it is a brigade without bullets. it is in error wing without enough trained pilots. it is a paper tiger. >> the press has started in about -- >> this new threat to the
pentagon arises because of the gridlock in congress over the budget deficit. many republicans say the military must be scared, and democrats say they must share the pain. but the point is, the consensus that funded president bush's wars has gone and threats to defense spending and a part of the negotiating process. if the budgetary pressures are intense, what about the consequences in the wider world? in iraq, the minute final u.s. withdrawal has been blamed, in part, by some critics on the desire to trade security for money. meanwhile, an afghanistan and pakistan, plans to accelerate the draw down their have increased tensions with local politicians who are planning to anti-american public opinion. >> the pentagon's top servicemen took command at a time of flux. the scale of cuts from congressional budget
negotiations is not yet clear. but the salient thing is that the post-9/11 consensus about funding the military is over, and america's politicians are no longer in step. >> my colleague has been speaking to general martin dempsey, chair of the u.s. joint chiefs of staff. what's what has it been like to take over the military at a time when it is in decline? >> i am not in decline. we're not in decline. >> how big was the army when you join dick? it is a lot smaller now than it was? >> you know, the incline our decline is not a function of size. it is a function of capability. i would suggest to you that, over the last 10 years, we have learned a large and adapted. we tend to face adversaries it did not mass against us. they decentralized. we have become a network to defeat and network. >> when people like your predecessor or the defense
secretary said that the security of our country is in peril by budget cuts, are they wrong? >> they are correct, but with the have also said is that this initial budget cut of $450 billion-plus, they have used the phrase hard but manageable. even before it became the chairman. i agree with that characterization. >> that anything more is not manageable? >> anything more would be harder and could reach the point of becoming unmanageable. we will never be a military that can only do one thing at a time. >> despite the fact that your army will be smaller than it has been since 1940, and it might be the smallest since 1915. >> you are reading the language of sequestration. >> i am reading the language of leon panetta. >> but he is reacting to what it is sequester mechanism would kick in in that we would have to find another $550 billion over 10 years. >> can we talk about pakistan?
how long did your mission continue in afghanistan that the pakistanis stick with their decision to shut down the supply route into their country? >> this and make it very difficult, but we will find a way to sustain our efforts in afghanistan, even if the pakistanis make the unfortunate decision to close those routes. >> looking at the broader picture in afghanistan, do you think it was a technical mistake to put 24 teams within the state? >> it increased the risk. but, you know, there is a school of thought that suggests that -- you know the school of thought that says if you placed a time like, you empower your enemies to just wait you out. but personally, my personal military judgment here, is that there have been times in my career when i have seen a milestone call me along. and i think that it is done correctly, and that is what we're trying to do, the milestones can have the correct as well. they can pull as a long,
encourage us to transition, focus our energies, and deliver the outcome that we promised as an alliance. >> that is not going to be defeated by 2014, is it? what's militarily, the word defeat means the rendered the enemy and capable of imposing itself. in this case, we would say overthrowing the constitutionally-elected government of pakistan -- of afghanistan. they will never be destroyed. that is another term which means they go away. the taliban are part of the fabric of the part of the world, and they will have to be dealt with. >> so they worth -- they will still be there in 2014? >> sure, but those that are irreconcilable could be reconcilable. those were not will still be enemies of the afghan state. we will support the afghans to deal with it. >> briefly, about iran. if iran or to have deployable nuclear weapons, how serious a matter with that be?
>> we have stated that we will not allow iran to become a nuclear power. >> and if you were tasked with destroying any nuclear capabilities that iran might possess or be on the brink of possession, could you do it? >> i will not speak about our capabilities. but i will tell you, as you know, our current approach is one of economics and diplomacy. but we have not, as we have consciously stated that we will not take any military actions of the table either. >> religion, guilt, redemption, martin scorsese's films have shed shed light on all the dark as this is good and he has come out with "hugo," a family film in a 3-d. this week, scorsese was in london and met peter marshall to talk about movies, music, and what he considers to be his major political work. >> the master on the set and in
his element. martin scorsese's first family film on is the history of cinema itself. with a british cast, homage is paid to the pioneers who brought with the director calls the magic to life. >> the feeling of it wasbeing ad invalid when he was a child because of the asthma. >> you had asthma? >> yes. and it led to being kept away from sports, nature, anything green. and certainly animals. no running, no hysterical laughter. so i was in the movie theaters a lot. whatever cannot do or be part of in the life around me, somehow in the imagination and the spirit of the cinema, i experienced it. and i shared it with my father. i shared it with my father mainly. >> the message from "hugo" in
all to modern 3-d is that for getting the past only kills the present. kingsley is a great director, now reduced to running a toy shop, his film work disregarded as the move is of moved on. history, says scorsese, is the key to understanding >> you are a human encyclopedia. >> it is just that i was able to see many of these films at the time when i was home alone, waiting for my parents to come back from work. there was a television set. you see the basic films. american films and british films. british cinema is very important to me, 1945 on. >> scorsese's own place in film history is not sure. from "taxi driver" to "raging bull." and an oscar for "the departed." his music documentaries are now matching those successes. >> think often that i had the
ability to compose music, created, right to complete, that is probably what i probably would have found myself doing, in essence, expressing myself to the music is one of the basic forms from a pure form. >> he made them work together in a way which enhances both. >> well, the film is very musical. fm about music is very musical. because of the rhythm of the cuts and how you perceive the pacing of the picture. i do not know how one pays is the film and how the audience reacts. and the camera movement is a musical. and the rhythm of motion in a way. for me, music has to be part of your blood. it has to be so much a part of your life. my brother played guitar. my father used to be able to. i was never able to peter >> funny taste as well. >> yes. well, we are new yorkers.
you know, working-class people. the radio was playing all the time. whether it was opera or swing music, american slang or british swing, some jazz, of course. ♪ "noylan's music in direction home" was punched up to study affected a with george harrison's "living in a material world, " he continued the trick. he loved punk. ♪ >> it had a freshness to it. >> dedrick. >> it had something to say, and they were not going to be stopped. >> somebody told me that your family member made meatballs for the clash. >> that was my mother, yes. [laugh] i know joe and cosmo, the
manager. one lady named pearl harbor. yes. we had some good italian dinners. we used to cook every sunday. my mother would come. we would show the boys how it is done. >> punks for lunch. >> yes, there were very sweet. >> he is best known for his gangster films like "goodfella." but the doctors is one have his heart is hitting, "casino," is a political allegory. the crash we all now in door, he says he put on a screen two decades ago. >> toomey, it has to be in the microcosm, in a way. for me, "casino," for example, was a political film. in the opening image, you have robert denair walked out on the screen in -- to have roberts deniro wanted the street in
patent leather shoes, gets into his cadillac, turns the key, and the car blows up. it is true story. the amount of excess, the amount of -- there's nothing that is never enough. until finally, it explodes. this was 1995. it was a concern of mine that -- and that is why i am making the george harrison film. harrison said i had everything at the age of 19 to 21, but he said, there has to be more to being alive. and i said, how much more do you need of this? and look at this. they're tearing down the old las vegas, where it was like an old western where you had gunfighters or gamblers come in, and they would gamble. that is what they do, they gamble. here, the new las vegas at the
end of that film, it is in las vegas where they bring the family, because we have a theme parks there and they are gambling away the money for us, because you're not going to wi nit. we're going to keep it. it is purely evil. >> martin scorsese, and that is all from us for this week. goodbye. ♪ >> funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york,o swe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. and union bank. ♪