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Wednesday, 8 April, 2009

ADMIN USE ONLY | 18:12 UK time, Wednesday, 8 April 2009

From Justin Rowlatt Ethical Man

The first of our Ethical Man America films airs tonight. Normally when you finish a Newsnight film you sink back in exhaustion and reach for a comforting drink. I can't do that with this one because this is one of a series of seven films and we are already editing part two. It is a bit like a news version of a soap opera - News at Ten meets Eastenders perhaps.

It is an unusual way of telling a story but this is an unusual story. We embarked on a 35 day, 6,500 mile bus, train and road trip around America to look at what the world's second most polluting country (China has just over taken the US in terms of greenhouse gas emissions) is doing to try and move to a low-carbon economy.

We start in a small town in the rust belt looking at the unique challenges America faces - why the average American produces twice the greenhouse gas emissions of a European. You can see a (rather surreal) taster of tonight's show here

We'll also be asking - are we harbouring war criminals? In the week that Rwanda marked the 15th anniversary of the genocide that left 800,000 dead - here in Britain four men accused by Rwanda of being involved in the killings walked free from the High Court. Their extradition request failed with the judges saying, if they were sent to Rwanda, they would not receive a fair trial. These men were brought to the attention of authorities following a BBC investigation. We'll be asking - is it time British courts were able to prosecute crimes against humanity committed abroad?

Jeremy will also be speaking to Ken Livingstone - the man who worked with the police in 2001 in devising the tactic of kettling and Bruce Kent the veteran protester about whether protest is being criminalised, and is the right to protest under threat?

Do join Jeremy at 10:30pm on BBC Two.


  • Comment number 1.

    There can be no doubt that protest is being criminalised, the latest disgraceful episode involving the Met is another sad indictment of an ever controlling, yet increasingly inept at controlling, HMG.

    Did you know that the term "kettling" is a direct translation of both name and tactics from the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS?

    Stay in your homes till we tell you otherwise!

    It boils down to this; over promoted wee souls like Jacqui are told that if anything bad happens on their watch it could seriously damage their party's chances of re-election and consequently a substantial drop in her and her husband's income.

    So , panic stricken, she and others like her become increasingly heavy handed and intolerant, trying to stay in a handsomely paid sinecure.

    And that's it.

  • Comment number 2.

    kashibeyaz (#1) "the latest disgraceful episode involving the Met is another sad indictment of an ever controlling, yet increasingly inept at controlling, HMG."

    There was something odd about it all that's for sure. Earlier in the day, one chap, wearing what looked like a white bib with what looked like blood (make-up?) on it, and his head, was making provocative motions at the front of a crowd in front of a police line. He then appeared to fall back in a manner which made it appear that he'd been pushed when it could have been just theatrics. There were ninjas somewhere behind him, periodically lashing out at the police with their poles.

    Watching the critical event leading to the subsequent death, it all looked rather odd. The footage was allegedly provided to The Guardian by a 'hedge-fund worker', so who knows what the event comprised at this stage? There seemed to be rather a lot of cameras about at the time.... In one interview today it was pointed out that there were both Met and City of London police at the critical event. As the officer involved has allegedly come forward to the IPCC (along with others), perhaps we'll hear smoething more useful on tonight's programme? Until then I'm remaining sceptical.

    Kettling, SS eh? Who'd have thought?

  • Comment number 3.

    Newsnight tonight is to ask "are we harbouring war criminals?" and the BBC News item link supplied stated:-

    "The men deny involvement in the genocide and say they would not receive a fair trial if they were forced to return to Rwanda. Anti-genocide campaigners condemned the court's decision, saying that it sent a message to the Rwandan people that the suspected killers of their families could "walk free with impunity". The court ordered the four men, who have been held in custody since December 2006, be released. "

    A question more relevant to OUR safety is -

    Is it fair to release such criminal suspects into our society?

    And the real message that is sent, not only to the Rwanda people, but worldwide seems to be - if you are a criminal in your own country, then seek sanctuary in UK - because we cannot send you back home under mis-applied Human Rights laws.

    Perhaps our own lawkeepers are getting so frustrated trying to keep our homeland safe in the face of such stupid application of the law that they release their pent-up spleen on protestors? I'm rather surprised that they handled the Sri Lankan mob so gently: we seem to be more tolerant of foreign groups bringing their national protests to our streets than we are of our own people protests.

  • Comment number 4.

    Ref #1 kashibeyaz,

    "Enhanced Interrogation" is also a literal translation of "Verscharfte Vernehmung,"
    the euphemism for torture used by the Gestapo during WWII.

  • Comment number 5.

    Richard_SM (#4) Of course, only war-losing, evil-doing, statists use 'enhanced interrogation' techniques. We Anglo-Saxons etc are much more efficicient and just firebomb or nuke cities, strafe entire countries to ensure the spread of typhus epidemics and then run war crime trials blaming the other side of heinously maltreating/malnourishing POWs. Still, we should never miss an opportunity to vilify the Nazis, as they were quite efficient at running [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] and it's everyone's duty to make sure none of that nonsense ever upsets the free-market here, especially just after a burst credit mega-bubble! ;-)

  • Comment number 6.

    anti terror mess up?

    the brilliance of the law was spotted a long time ago

  • Comment number 7.

    God, spare me "Ethical Man". Do you realise, the only people who care about the 'climate change' lunacy are those in the media? Look around you at the roads still filled with cars, planes still flying and supermarkets still filled with food from every corner of the Earth. Has any of it changed after ten years of relentless attempted brainwashing?

    While you're at it, how about a cull of "Newsnight" journalists? You could start with Susan Watts, Justin Rowlatt and the 'comedian', whose name constantly escapes me.

  • Comment number 8.


    The eco-fascists always attempt to portray how bad burning coal is as far as causing global warming is concerned. However, basic combustion science suggests that burning coal emits far less Water Vapour than burning gas or oil. Given that water vapour is said to be just as bad a greenhouse gas as CO2, does the lack of water vapour when burning coal cancel out the increased CO2 to some extent ?

    ( source British Transport Commission Hand Book for Steam Locomotive Enginemen )

  • Comment number 9.

    Have been watching Charlie Brookers Newswipe. BBC 4. Worth a watch.

    As to the update I put on this blog last year about getting whacked from behind by a couple by a couple of coppers.

    Last month I put in a complaint and reported them. These things happen.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 10.


    Nazi genocide (yawn..) got another dishonourable mention tonight (just in case anyone was forgetting) this time in the context of non-extradition of four men possibly complicit in Rwanda genocide, and, can you believe it, the senior anti-terrorist policeman accidentally reveals secret information to press cameras as he gets out of his car in Downing Street causing world-wide (UK at least) media excitement and big fuss up North (just in case anyone was forgetting about the evil-doings which Alki-Ada loving Islamo-Fascists .. with possible links to Iran no doubt) get up to...

    Carla Bruni - a dark horse It's all in the improbabilities.

  • Comment number 11.

    #10 Jaded_jean

    I just know that #10, which has not cleared the moderators yet, is going to say:

    " I am the poster who presented statistics questioning how many Jews survived from the 1930's and I am off to defend Demjanjuk as there is little evidence the Holocaust happened" .

    Alternatively I could speculate that it is more re-packaged Hitlerite race "realist" nonsense.

    Whilst I like to post comment and criticism if there was a budget issue between research and web pages I would say scrap the opportunity for those people - who are NOT the BNP - to put forward their hate-filled ideas.

    I just await the next day that a BNP supporting policeman gets kicked out.


  • Comment number 12.

    as per #11


    I have to confess the goose steppers seem to enjoy calling others fascists yet they must at least secretly whisper the name of the ideology that dare not speak its name.

    Then again as with the Twickenham Green murdere, the Baby P batterer, the wannabe paedophile nail bomber and the would be Lowestoft "SS" train bomber (in the last twelve months) they are so peculiar I would not expect a trained behavioural analyst to comment.

  • Comment number 13.

    #10 Jaded_jean

    Do enlighten people:

    "Nazi genocide (yawn..) got another dishonourable mention"

    Let whatever there is inside you that passes for honesty speak out - declare what you consider to be the honourable mention.

    Interesting also that after all of the rubbish you have previously mentioned you do actually acknowledge genocide.

    If you are a BNP party member is this the time to approach Special branch?

    Will people be looking to punch your ticket?

  • Comment number 14.

    hillsideboy #3 writes: "And the real message that is sent, not only to the Rwanda people, but worldwide seems to be - if you are a criminal in your own country, then seek sanctuary in UK.."

    but ONLY if you're well-connected or bring loads of money ;-)

  • Comment number 15.

    Mr Grayling is not nearly of the same caliber as his ex predecessor David Davis. Surely, it is not so difficult to have an opinion over the careless mistake made by a senior police officer for exposing sensitive document in public. Nevertheless, Red Ken managed to drop Grayling right in it during the interview. I wonder if Mr Cameron would consider bringing Mr Davis back to the shadow cabinet?

  • Comment number 16.

    someone has asked on yesterday's comments if 'now that it is 'criminal' to film or photograph a police officer, then will the video footage be used as evidence or thrown out? Can anyone in newsnight address this question as it would be really sinister were it to be the case....

  • Comment number 17.

    thegangofone (various covert pro free-market posts)

    Pleae watch this cartoon and ask why the politically divisive idea that 'individualism is good' has been so heavily promoted in Europe/USA throughout the second half of the C20th especially. Sometimes the target has been decribed as the liberated 'me me me generation'

    The politics of one group practices the opposite, hence the high salience of this 'group' despite its minority population. What it promotes is cooperation endogamously (collectivism, ee all the group websites) but iit promotes individuality/independence i.e. lack of cooperation (i.e. anti-socialism)exogamously thus preserving a large outgroup consumer base which is pemanently minimally politically organised, i.e unable to effectively regulate/govern in its own best interests (which would be descrbed as 'white supremacism').

    That, I suggest, is what you are tacitly, or explicity endorsing. It accelerated pace with the denazification, collective guilt campaign after WWII because Germany had so effectively implemented a command, essentially Keynesian, economy in the wake of its economic 'downturn' in the 20s/30s.

    A ommand economy is what's seen as the threat to these free-marketeers, so they keep reminding people of the evil-things which command economists (allegedly) do, and it doesn't matter how true/false any of that really is, it's just done to push people towards independence, individualism, narcissisim (i.e ant-socialism in every sense of the term).

    In my view, this is just group economics and egregious, self-interested politics. It is egregious in that it can only be done by a minority group at the expense of a much larger group which it prevents from organising/regulating.

    Consider this just as a hypothesis. Just look for evidence, i.e statistics at odds with chance - and ask does the evidence fit the hypothesis?

  • Comment number 18.

    Ethical man’s town meeting talk was misleading to the American people. He told them they needed to reduce emissions by 80% but that is the target figure for Europeans. Americans emit twice as much as Europeans so need to reduce by 90% not 80%, i.e. by twice as much.


    Maybe you’re just asking an innocent question, but false doubts like water vapour just feed those who want to believe that we can carry on polluting. The quantity of water vapour in the atmosphere is self controlling. If you increase emissions of water vapour then the atmosphere will compensate by taking up less from the oceans. Answers to all these simple questions are easily found on science websites, not denial websites.

  • Comment number 19.

    please dump ethical man.

    even the use of the word ethical is stupid.

    the topics to investigate are things like a feed in tariff that seems, uniquely in the EU, to have a news blackout in the uk. Even Watts refused to mention it when talking abut renewables in Germany? How can anyone talk about renewables in germany and NOT talk about the feed in tarriff?

    whatever the ethical man series is it isn't public service. more an exercise in distraction and misdirection.

    like the 'anglo saxon economics' label tosh.

    Thank goodness iplayer allows you to fast forward.

    The Police Gaff

    The bungler has resigned. Considering the loss of intelligence due to early arrest it was a no brainer. It puts the loss of a laptop in a chinese honey trap by the No 10 office into context ...of unprofessionalism.

  • Comment number 20.


    the uk justice system is a basket case and the uk prisons are not 'safe' yet despite the overwhelming evidence they have no hesitation sending people there.

  • Comment number 21.


    the video also shows the person in question being obstructive. a person looking to avoid trouble does not knowingly amble slowly with hands in pockets in front of a police line halting their progress?

    but the usual suspects will milk it.

  • Comment number 22.

    re #14 Lack of money is no barrier. Earlier this month a Rumanian, with a known criminal record in his own country, was jailed for rape, which he commited in order to get free board and lodging, courtesy of HMPS and the UK taxpayer, so we take all comers - except those with sound UK sponsors.

    The recently arrested Pakistani terrorist suspects, were here on student visas. Were their sponsors (if any) checked out?
    I have been struggling for over 6 months, through full Immigration Appeal Hearings, in order to get student visas for 2 relatives (of my Filipina wife) so that I can get them trained to UK standards and employ them myself back in their own country. At one stage Home Office informed me that do not take account of sponsors!

  • Comment number 23.

    malmaple # 18

    I did a quick Google search and this popped up

    It would appear that water vapour is being considered as a pollutant by some people, and if it is self regulating as you claim ( could be eco-fascist Aristotle based ) why therefore is CO2 not " self regulating either. As a rough guide I was taught that burning one gallon of petrol produces one gallon of water, all this water has to go somewhere either in increased rainfall or raising the sea level. Unfortunately I not up to speed on the science of how much heat is exchanged when water vapour is condensed into rain in our atmosphere.

    I don't trust the eco-fascists on science, after all they did support the introduction of traffic calming which doubles the potentially toxic alleged asthma causing pollution from motor vehicles on our roads. CO2 production is also vastly increased.

  • Comment number 24.

    Terror Arrests

    Innocent until proven guilty.

    That's a important thing to remember !

    But it would be interesting to know who sponsored their entry into Britain , or is that not required for a student visa ?

    Also I hope the Pakistan Embassy is funding a family representative to come here during the investigation process and court case (if any).

    Immigration Policy

    I watched a Canadian documentary last year about their immigration process , they ask people entering into their country if they have any criminal convictions , they even check with the UN war crimes unit when people apply for citizenship.

    I think the reason they do this is because if a person falsifies his or her application form , citizenship can be withdrawn.

    The documentary also showed someone having their citizenship being stripped and deported even tho' he had been given citizenship at 6 months old when his family emigrated , but he went on to get a string of convictions in his teens and adult life , he was deported back to Britain.

    Maybe we can learn from other non EU countries systems ?

    As for judging every other non western countries criminal justice system as flawed , this could be seen as a imperialistic view of the world.

    Ethical Man

    Global warming or Climate change , when PR is needed to sell a scientific theory , one does question it.

    Personal I am for less reliance from imported energy , if new (green) technology can enable this , I support it.

    How is clean coal research going ?

    If we got huge reserves of coal (I think we have been told in the past it's close to 600 years worth) surly we should be leading the way in this technology.

    It would be interesting to see the robotic technology that could be developed and employed for use in deep coal mines these days and it's other spin off applications.

  • Comment number 25.

    #19 bookhimdano

    I'm obviously missing something here. You speak of the lack of a 'feed-in tariff' which I think is selling spare self generated energy back into the grid.

    I believe it was one of the Grand Designs programmes which featured a house in Staplehurst (?) which did just that. I also seem to remember a chap,also on TV, with an outrageous moustache who did the same in the west country.

    Would you be kind enough to elaborate please?

  • Comment number 26.

    #17 Jaded_jean

    I have said before that rather waffle on people will immediately gather what you are about in seconds if you just mention you dislike those "that paint Hitler as darkly as possible for party political reasons".

    You don't deny the Holocaust or affirm it but you have produced "statistics" that suggest a lot of Jews survived from the 1930's....

    I doubt the Demjanjuk defence team will subpoena you for your expertise, as you and others of your ilk that pollute this page with the view that "there is little evidence the Holocaust happened".

    Equally you protest that there is a scientific basis for your race "realism" yet I don't think there is going to be any sea change in the scientific establishment any time soon on the basis of your "profound" analysis. Genetic variation is greater within a race than between races.

    In essence you are just a record with the needle stuck and like some latter day Haw Haw you hope that repetition will convince in the absence of morality, science and fact.

    You are a font of valueless propaganda.

    99.9% of the public reject you, the UK is content as a multicultural society and the BNP, who hold similar views to you and other posters, remain political pariahs.

  • Comment number 27.


    it's all been posted here before.

    the feed in tariff in germany generates billions in income and has proven to create over 1/4 million jobs and produces more power than the whole uk nuclear industry. The uk is one of the few countries in europe not to have it. Indeed Gordon has gone out of his way to block every bill trying to bring one in. Cynics might say that was because it would end the 'rationale' for nuclear which his brother is PR for?

    Also it would end the monopoly one way grid run by foreign multinationals that see the uk as cash cow. It's worth billions of easy money to them and so have fought every move to bring it in. Look how energy prices have not come down. its a national scandal.

    in recent reports eu countries are extending the idea as they have shown using the millions of acres of factory roof to generate local energy is the most efficient way to generate renewables.

    Unlike the uk model which, it would seem, has chosen [on purpose?], the most expensive and least efficient method for generating renewable -offshore windpower. The govt have been using those figures to 'prove' renewables are not cost effecitive and so railroad people's mind to nuclear.

    everyone from councils to factory owners to homeowners could make their own power and sell it back to the grid [which makes your meter run backwards!] and so make the uk more efficient, reduce people's bills and break the monopoly that puts millions into energy poverty. It would also end the need for the public to 'subsidise' energy companies through winter fuel payments etc.

    its like there is a dark hand over the uk keeping it in the chilly shade.

  • Comment number 28.

    London Mayor Questions


    'have i got news for you' with Boris .

    a few good jokes and plenty of muppet style action.

  • Comment number 29.

    On the Quick resignation, sadly the right course of action, it does perhaps raise a few questions about a culture of complacency in the security arena.

    On the one hand he may just have been in a rush to get to Downing Street but then he must have done that before. Ministers have been shown carrying documents before. Is there not a case for an official black box or more practical ruck-sack?

    Are they scrupulous about not taking work home and ensuring that they themselves cannot be under surveillance?

    We have had memory stick after memory stick lost; documents on trains; stolen laptops etc etc

    If there actually are elements of the ISI who are in league with al Qaeda they may have both resource and expertise available to them.

  • Comment number 30.

    #8 brossen99

    The "British Transport Commission Hand Book for Steam Locomotive Enginemen " may not be considered as pertinent to the complexities of climate change as those scientists who have racked up a cumulative total of some thousands of years and who 99% agree that climate change is happening due to human impacts.

    In your support barriesingleton has done "measuring and observations" as part of his R&D work.

  • Comment number 31.


    NewFazer (#25) The empirical evidence for your #33 yesterday isn't looking all that good so far, alas.

  • Comment number 32.

    Has ethical man ever considered what impact the the 10,000 satellites circling the earth might have on our weather systems? Or the countless numbers of junk and debris circling in their wake?

  • Comment number 33.

    GO1 # 30

    Handbook for steam locomotive enginemen was written by true engineers, not the university trained idiots we have today attempting to appease their corporate funders quasi-religion. Whatever you say, the eco-fascists can't get around the traffic calming causes pollution problem. I have been pointing it out since 1995, only now have the facts been recognized only to be " less pregnant " with 20 Mph zones as the alternative, and then only to sell average speed camera technology. Eco-fascism is all about selling new products and new " tech " company share price speculation, nothing to do with protecting the environment.

  • Comment number 34.

    thegangofone (#13) Here's something from the Wall Street Journal a few days back. What I think you should perhaps take away from this is a) the statistics and b) the following:

    What I've been encouraging others to consider generally is whether one should ever punitively hold people accountable for their behaviour if they are not fully aware of, or are not responsible for the consequences of their behaviour. I think one can not. Instead one has to try to better manage their behaviour so that such people avoid harming others, and others, in turn, do not harm them in retaliation. In order to do that, one has to explicate behaviour, i.e make it more transparent. The intensional idioms obstruct that.

    I suspect that may not be what you'd like to be the case, but the reality is... this may be the best that we can hope to do.

  • Comment number 35.


    It wasn't on my screen yesterday!


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