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Thursday 10 September 2009

Verity Murphy | 19:03 UK time, Thursday, 10 September 2009

Here is what is coming up in the programme:

Tonight in a special programme we will be considering the future of Afghanistan as the presidential election grinds to an unsatisfying and potentially dangerous conclusion.

Today, the Afghan Electoral Complaints Commission invalidated some ballots because of fraud.

So where does this leave the legitimacy of the leading candidate, incumbent Hamid Karzai, and the West's mission in the country?

Our Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban will be providing us with the latest analysis, while Jeremy will be speaking to US Special Representative Richard Holbrooke, presidential candidate Dr Abdullah Abdullah - who believes the election has been stolen - and Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

Richard Watson has a report about the realities of security on the ground with one man who should know, Pakistan's North West Frontier Province chief of police.

And nine years after the Taliban destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan, Lyse Doucet reports on the man they call Afghanistan's Indiana Jones and his search for a giant Buddha he believes is hidden in the hills.

Join Jeremy tonight at 10.30pm on BBC Two.


  • Comment number 1.


    So where does this leave the legitimacy of the leading candidate, incumbent Hamid Karzai, and the West's mission in the country?

    It leaves the candidate of Hamid Karzai legitimacy in the Elections unknown and unclear (until) the situation is clearer....

    =Dennis Junior=

  • Comment number 2.

    OT from tonight's programme but...

    During the US presidential campaign last year Newsnight ran one of its now apparently obligatory anti-Republican election films by Greg Palast. Republican allegations of corruption against ACORN, the Obama-supporting activist group, were dismissed out of hand as Palast warned, with typical hyperbole, that the Republicans were going to try to steal the election. In support of his argument he interviewed Robert Kennedy Jr but failed to declare to Newsnight viewers their intimate working relationship.

    Fast forward. Obama is President. No election theft. And ACORN is "now under investigation in at least 14 states for voter registration fraud". Yet Democrat politicians continue to funnel eye-watering sums of taxpayers' money its way. Today we discover that ACORN employees are seemingly happy to help facilitate child prostitution.

    How about a Newsnight report to redress the balance of last year's partisan hit-job? Just don't let Palast do it.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    What has a Bradford postal ballot and a Afghan Presidential election got in commom?

  • Comment number 6.

    More than outstanding Newsnight tonight - from Jeremy's interviews with Holbrooke/Abdullah/Milliband to Richard's report with the Pakistani Police Chief to Mark's fabulous graphics - thoroughly brilliant. Absolutely loved Lyse's report from Afghanistan, although I am not convinced that Bamiyan is such a safe tourist destination yet.

    I am overjoyed that Susan Watts and the Newsnight Team have obtained an official apology from the PM for the treatment of the wartime hero, Alan Turing. It really is thanks to the entire Newsnight Team that so many people got to know about what happened to him.

    :o) Newsnight RULES!

  • Comment number 7.

    #6 from mimpromptu
    Hold on!
    The government may have apologised to Alan Turing's family because it was convenient for them to do so for a completely different reason than the real truth.
    It's not NN that rules, it will be the truth about what they have been up to which is being unravelled and which will, I'm sure, prevail. There is much more to it than meets the eye, Mistress76uk.

  • Comment number 8.

    from mimpromptu
    Has everybody noticed what a wonderful and honest job the UK Government are doing? Everything, absolutely everything is justified and for everything there is an excuse, like the four people killed to release one journalist. Whenever they speak there is such an air of sincerity that sometimes I'm on the verge of tears with admiration.

  • Comment number 9.


    Good news about the Alan Turing apology, well done to all involved, the dark side of human nature may have moved to taking its stuff out on other groups that are different to the rest? the Alan Turing story seems absolutely appaling, its interesting that he helped fight a war against evil, but on our side their was wickedness too -sorry does that sound "moralistic" !! re a post a few weeks ago - !

    Thought Richard Holbrooke handled JP with great skill, encouraging to see this in someone trying to sort the mess out in Afganistan

    and re the missing Buddha, what interested me was that in one sense it made more sense to leave it hidden wherever it is, but it is serving a real purpose by building hope, so the project makes sense, perhaps if they find it the British Museum could always appropriate it for 'safe keeping', sorry that was a cheap shot !

    didn't you run the Elgin marbles story a while ago?

    best wishes nighty night as JP would say...

  • Comment number 10.

    from mimpromptu
    How can the current UK government in the clutches of deranged schizophrenics justify its existence for much longer is beyond my comprehension. The truth is out there. With every day that passes they're making it worse for themselves by protecting the unprotectable.

  • Comment number 11.

    from mimpromptu
    a new ditty from yesterday:

    It's yet another beautiful day.
    Refusing for it to end disarrayed,
    Am getting ready to go out soon
    And be on ice at least by noon.

    Snapping along I got there late
    Then chatted a bit, such was the fate,
    But thoroughly enjoyed twirling and all.
    And then the French cinema hall

    Was where I went to have a look
    To find some music or interesting book.
    From there I went to my cinema class
    Where we discussed films from the past.

    Once back at home and telly on
    I watched the lies with 'gusto' thrown
    At poor viewers without a clue
    What had the creeps for them accrued.

    It's now tomorrow I'm waiting for
    Rich in emotions and dance galore.

  • Comment number 12.


    I am not a fan of belated apology (we have so much to apologise for in recorded history) but in the case of Turing, what about all the poor 'nobody' buggers who were vilified and gaoled in the same era? If we are to leave THEM damned, we could at least let off dear Oscar!

  • Comment number 13.


    Barrie (#12) It's contrived reinforcement of celebritism (infantile/adolescent narcissism).

    If it's not promotion of Hollywood darlings 'going commando' in pursuit of 'freedom', it's some other emotive tale spun in order to make money and solicit attention. It's female brain gender thing ;-(

    Have we learned nothing? ;-)

  • Comment number 14.

    from mimpromptu
    Why should I continue to be put under so much pressure, and really suffering, and then be ‘encouraged’ to watch all the lies, self-justifications and schizophrenic manipulation of ‘news’, be it on Newsnight or the internet?
    Just as well I am resilient.

  • Comment number 15.

    mimpromptu (#14) "Why should I continue to be put under so much pressure, and really suffering, and then be ‘encouraged’ to watch all the lies, self-justifications and schizophrenic manipulation of ‘news’, be it on Newsnight or the internet?"

    In the main, people report what they believe to be true. Sadly, it often isn't the whole story, and so is often false. One has to be critical, not only of what one reads/hears/sees from others, but also of what one writes/says oneself. This takes lots of self-disciplie and is a function of intelligence and personality.

    See science.

  • Comment number 16.

    from mimpromptu
    This is only a supposition but it may be the case that jj and his former colleague jg are, in fact, engaged in a lethal game with each other. There is a lot of fear out there at the moment, whatever the case may be. Several reputations have already been distroyed and yet their 'owners' carry on on the badwagon of self-deceipt. Whatever they decide to do in the immediate future, holding on to power and to the 'buttons',etc., will not change one iota how the posterity is going to view and deal with them.

  • Comment number 17.


    Postscript (#15) Mimpromptu - we know who your posts are from. You don't need to tell everyone., gn Out and look at the blog and you will see. You only appear as you when you are Logged In.

    Note: This is a partial illustration of the difference between allocentric thinking/behaviour in contrast to egocentric thinking/behaviour. Look for feedback and be more self-critical. It's a continuum which differentiates people. The former behaviour requires more work/effort, so many people tend to do it less, perhaps because effort 'hurts' a bit? ;-)

  • Comment number 18.

    Please tell the world about anything positive that you've done for anybody out there, in real life. Have you shared any money or food with any specific person? Have you helped anybody cross the street? Is any child that's not your own grateful to you for teaching them something, anything really, like having fun on ice, for example? Has anyone on this blog expressed their gratitude for the 'amazing' things you've taught them? I'm not sure even Barrie Singleton is all that appreciative of your 'wonderful' contributions although he did try to help you at some stage. I'm not going to give you any suggestions of what you should do with yourself, but I would appreciate if you would kindly give up on trying to attract my attention as I do not want to have anything to do with you.

  • Comment number 19.

    It's admirable that the agents of change, goodwill and enlightenment (aka dysgenesis) currently in Iraq and Afghanistan, having invested in regime change, have also decided to leave the democratic electoral process to the 'will of the people'. Look at what happened in the case of Hamas. The 'will of the people' there divided Palestine and led to hundreds of badly aimed rockets being launched at Israel. Israel has now brought peace to the area, and is now helping to develop prosperity on the West Bank to boot.

    Perhaps there's hope for Palestine/Afghanistan/Pakistan/Iraq yet? Maybe they won't try to join the SCO (like Iran) after all?

    No doubt India is learning? Watch the USA India. You too can have this rather than that evil Chinese 'Socialism in One Country' with all it's woes and cruelties.

  • Comment number 20.

    The item on the North West Frontier police was really excellent and my only criticism was there was no wider reaction to the reasoned argument that the Taliban and al Qaeda were to all intents and purposes one and the same.

    It would have been very interesting to hear whether the Allies shared that view and whether the strategies to separate elements of the Talibs from al Qaeda still stand.

    But very interesting and wish it had been longer.

    Also when he asked for 10-15,000 troops he did not stress Pakaistan. How would he, and the local populace, have reacted to foreign troops? Surely Pakistan can provide that many troops?

    Also how sensitive is the Predator technology he wanted? You wouldn't want al Qaeda with Predators. I would think the Brits would want them themselves? Perhaps a cut down version or the UK knocks up its own version?

  • Comment number 21.

    #17 Jaded_Jean

    "This is a partial illustration of the difference between allocentric thinking/behaviour in contrast to egocentric thinking/behaviour. Look for feedback and be more self-critical. It's a continuum which differentiates people. "

    As though you are self critical! As ever you "explicate" nonsense with your pathetic and pretentious analysis.

    You are hardly the font of objective thinking given your Holocaust "agnosticism" and your views of the "Jewish Communist International" - with no credible evidence hence you rely on your "internet statistics" and wild assertions of "internal political and economic threats".

    You promote racial analysis via your race "realism" - though no major scientific establishment would support your views.

    You want to see National Socialism and Hitler rehabilitated after the evidence of millions of dead and the Holocaust show the Nazis to have been one of the most evil in the history of mankind.

    I could go on and on and I know that you are not "self-critical" and that the propaganda attempts to encourage others to subjugate their will continue.

    You would like to see more coverage of the BNP - they are not very self critical either are they.

  • Comment number 22.

    #15 Jaded_Jean

    "In the main, people report what they believe to be true."
    Brought to you from the Holocaust "agnostic" who thinks "Hitler was a peace lover". Spring time for Hitler in Germany ....

    "This takes lots of self-disciplie and is a function of intelligence and personality. "

    Sadly lacking in your case on both counts.

    Putting forward "facts" and "science" that have no basis tends to be because of personality issues.

    You yourself come over as somebody who is so indoctrinated (third generation National Socialist) that you are incapable of assessing the arguments that you promote and merely move to another argument when your propaganda is shot into tiny pieces.

    Genetic variation is greater within a race than between races and there is no basis for your race "realism" or eugenics.

    Nurmeburg and succeeding trials, along with confessions and witness statements and the camps themselves prove there was, of course, a Holocaust. You would not dance around the facts so carefully if you did not know that. Its a mindless hatred that uses a fanciful notion of the "Jewish Communist International" as an excuse though there is in fact no evidence whatever to support your views.

  • Comment number 23.

    Jaded_Jean was wittering yesterday about the tragic "denazification" of the UK in the post war period.

    As ever there is the adolescent attempt to gloss over WWII by not mentioning it. Fifty to seventy million dead and twenty five million or more were Russian "statists" - Nazis or Stalinists in the double speak of Jaded_Jean.

    People willingly fought against the Nazis and did not need propaganda.

    So there was no need for "denazification" in the post war period nor to "invent the Holocaust to put people off statists" as the war was already won.

    The British Legion has accepted money from the BNP after promises the BNP fund raiser would not exploit it.

    How could anybody trust the BNP - who are "not a Nazi party" - to keep their word? Of course they splashed it all over the BNP website "that has more hits than all of the other parties combined".

    But going back to the alleged "denazification" nonsense one comment reflects the mind crushingly obvious:

    "Ron Smith, who is head of Veterans Scotland, an umbrella group for ex-servicemen's charities north of the border, said he did not think his members would welcome donations from the BNP as "many of our veterans fought in a major world war against a fascist regime".

    He added: "Look at the armed forces and you have multi-ethnicity. What would you do with BNP money - not spend it on soldiers of Afro-Caribbean descent? It's a complete nonsense. "

    As is the BNP and the thoughts of those that travel that road.

  • Comment number 24.

    mimpromptu (#18) "I do not want to have anything to do with you."

    So you keep saying. I suggest you re-read your posts to this blog.

    Consider putting the advice in #17 (and earlier) into practice, and see what happens.

    It's the steep and thorny path to insight/self-awareness ;-)

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    thegangofone (#21) "I could go on and on.."

    You could indeed, and you usualy do. Whilst I suspect you truly can't help it any more than mimpromptu, you do serve as useful illustration of a class of behaviours which is of heuristic value to others.

  • Comment number 27.


    thegangofone & mimpromtu (various) It will be clear to many reading this blog that despite what you both assert, you spend a disproportionate amount of time reading what I post, and expressing very muddled misunderstandings and commentary on what is written. It's reasonable to describe this as evidence that you are, contrary to what you say, fascinated by what's posted, and can't wait for more! People often have a hard time reading their own feelings, and most people find change rather hard work (especially when cognitively challeneged ;-)....

    You both appear to be trying to learn, but aren't very good at it? Maybe if you tried being a bit more appreciative? Maybe you'd find you started to enjoy the experience more? ;-)

  • Comment number 28.

    thegangofone (#23) Have you been on a course whch taught you how to write nonsense?

    You seem to have a penchant for writing stuff like:

    "Of courde chickens don't have 16 legs and the Pope doesn't have wings. Moreover, the Labour Party doesn't sit down together to eat rock and tarmac sandwiches at 12pm every Tuesday, and The Conservatives have definitely never been seen to poison hamsters (and bottle-nosed dolphins from the Indian Ocean)!

  • Comment number 29.


    "Good grief - I can't stand it."

    ATTENTION BLOGDOG: are you really moderating the posts on here? I believe the BBC have a 'helpline'? Might you routinely add the contact number to your blogs in future?

  • Comment number 30.

  • Comment number 31.

    barrie (#29) "Good grief - I can't stand it."

    I suspect that may be the strategy, i.e making the blog as unreadble as possible so there's as little rational discussion on (unapproved of) issues as possible.

  • Comment number 32.


    You are already nice beyond the bounds of safety Mlle.H. With such poor preparation for life, you should not be let out.

    Have you no inkling that Brown is counting vote-gain, and the BBC go along for the ride? No sweetness - just wormwood and gall.

  • Comment number 33.

  • Comment number 34.


    Hi JJ. Now that 'conspiracy' is the new black, I have to admit to wondering along those lines. Can one do a degree in 'Subversion' or 'Conspiracy Studies' yet? (I suppose there is one on here who already has you tagged as LECTURING in said subjects!(:o) It would seem that the norm is now the hidden agenda, while the overt stuff is ALWAYS the lie!

    Schweinhund Blogdog!

  • Comment number 35.


    mademoiselle_h (#30) Why does Mr Turing get a public apology but not all the other convicted and chemically castrated gays?

    Nice Mr Mandelson said today that the Phoenix Four should apologize to all the workers at MG Rover who lost their jobs (and redundancy money?). he also said that the government could never have provided Rover with money as theat would be forbidden by the EU (that would be unfair protectionism, a bit like bailing out banks).

    Maybe Mr Brown should go the whole hog and apologize to the Iraqis for all the deaths in Iraq and then Germany and allies for declaring war on them for trying to rid Europe of Bolshevism etc>

    In fact, if all the banksters and criminals apologised, maybe they'd all behave themsleves in future and we'd all be very very happy?

  • Comment number 36.


    Boy, how did I know you would pick on me for saying a few nice words for the PM once for change, sir barrie? So prepared that I have already prepared an extra posting just for you in #32. Looks like I am not so naive after all, eh? What a pity :-)

  • Comment number 37.


    Don't think for a moment you can out-naive me! I was BORN naive - that's how naive I am, so there.

    Arrrgghhh! I think I am going down with Blog-Flu. Is it carried by Blogdog fleas?

  • Comment number 38.


    barrie (#32) "IS IT A WOMAN THING"...With such poor preparation for life, you should not be let out.

    You know, I think you may be onto something there. In fact, I do believe that before the C20th the world had generally caught onto this idea. Some of us keep trying to explain why.

    Here's another couple of pictures worth pondering.

    Some folk really know how to bring the house down...

  • Comment number 39.

    barrie (#34) "Can one do a degree in 'Subversion' or 'Conspiracy Studies' yet?"

    Of course. What would you like? Economics (mainly Austrian School/Chicago School stuff these days - it's what gets the Nobels), MBA, sociology, Cognitive Science. Media Studies, Climatechangeology..

    There's an awful lot to choose from these day.

  • Comment number 40.


    Here's a thought JJ (you can tell I am idling my time). In an IQ test, does the male score much higher on the 'Bustagutometer' than the female?
    Are IQ tests always done against the clock? Etc along those lines.

  • Comment number 41.

    Karsai's in the place for him

  • Comment number 42.


    Oh NO!! Tobacco Baron Clarke, in his lofty Tory Tower, wants an APOLOGY from the Phoenix Four, for - sort of - using other people's pain and misery for THEIR gain. Clearly the irony is totally beyond this particular Ken.

    For the avoidance of doubt: I see tobacco sales as indefensibly pernicious, and those who profit by them beyond redemption. The knowledge of what tobacco does to the human body has been with us for decades - NOWHERE TO HIDE. Clarke is often termed 'Big Beast'. Well, half right.

    Lets have a report on Clarke with some 'well deserved comment'.

  • Comment number 43.

    barrie (#40) "Are IQ tests always done against the clock?"

    Not all. But the difference is real. Males have bigger brains on average too, and there are subtle structural differences in brains. It's genetic. Males and females are designed for slightly different functions it turns out (amazing eh?). The cognitive differences isn't all that big in terms of mean differences, i.e for most people in the 85-115 range (although there is a 5 point mean difference in high 'g' loaded and spatial tests). It's in the upper tail of the Gaussian curve that this difference really stands out and this shows up in across the world in maths and science and in jobs (sorry Harriet). Some of science (especially today with so much automation) is very boring factory work. Females do well at this and writing too. Males are more creative. They take greater risks (not always a good thing, so conscientiousness is a moderating factor too). Some of our politicians are either very ignorant or up to no good. I suspect it's a bit of both. They should stop their nonsense either way as it's wrecking the country. Really.

    There are some uninformed people posting to this group who should really show more respect too. But hey ho, Blair et al. banned respect as 'patronizing' and encouraging 'elitism'.

    To some no doubt, people are all the same height too and people who think otherwise are vile heightists who probably secretly want to put short people into ovens when they're not busy doing things with sheep in fields up North and voting BNP or making nail bombs etc!

    That's 'education, education, education' for you! I blame the parents!


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