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Tuesday, 11 December, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 11 Dec 07, 05:50 PM

Return To Baghdad

doura100.gif
Tonight we have a fascinating film from Mark Urban about the dramatic changes brought to one area of South Baghdad by the recent US troop "surge”. Seven months after his first visit, Mark Urban returns to Doura with the 30 men of 2nd Platoon, 12th Infantry of the US Army.

Where once there was chaos and frequent killings, now a degree of normality has been restored. Mark goes on patrol, sees the sectarian peace walls, speaks to Sunnis and Shias, and considers whether the security gains brought by the "surge" can be sustained. We also hear from the troops on the ground as they end their 15 month tour of duty. Was the loss of their comrades in arms worth the relative peace now secured in Doura?

Climate Change

As the climate talks in Bali stutter forwards, the EU is stressing that any future deal on climate change will fail unless it is seen to be fair. The new polluters India and China object to the current system of measuring emissions on a countrywide basis because they say it disguises the fact that their emissions per person are comparatively low. In the case of India, one twentieth the level of the average American.

Many delegates say that per capita emissions should become part of any final deal, so what are the facts? We have a series of films from around the world, and an interview with the environment secretary Hilary Benn, live from Bali.

Algerian Attack

We'll also look at who was behind today's terror attack in Algeria - just how big a threat is Al Queda in North Africa?

Comments  Post your comment

Fair? In Bali, the privileged jet setters sit on their butts discussing the problem, while one fifth of the world's folk carry on consuming four fifths of the Earth's resources. Fair?
https://home.btconnect.com/tipiglen/20-80.gif

Pull the other one!

The climate talks are a stitch-up, as no one is talking about supply.

By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 11th December 2007
https://www.monbiot.com/archives/2007/12/11/rigged/

Ladies and gentlemen, I have the answer! Incredible as it might seem, I have stumbled across the single technology which will save us from runaway climate change! From the goodness of my heart I offer it to you for free. No patents, no small print, no hidden clauses. Already this technology, a radical new kind of carbon capture and storage, is causing a stir among scientists. It is cheap, it is efficient and it can be deployed straight away. It is called … leaving fossil fuels in the ground.

On a filthy day last week, as governments gathered in Bali to prevaricate about climate change, a group of us tried to put this policy into effect. We swarmed into the opencast coal mine being dug at Ffos-y-fran in South Wales and occupied the excavators, shutting down the works for the day. We were motivated by a fact which the wise heads in Bali have somehow missed: if fossil fuels are extracted, they will be used.

  • 2.
  • At 08:51 PM on 11 Dec 2007,
  • graeme wrote:

Dear Newsnight,

my browsers playing up so apologies if this appears twice.

In recent days there have been some noises from politicians about removing
that verse (No. 6 I think) from the National Anthem that is supposed to be offensive to Scots. As a Scot its never really bothered me as I've never heard heard it sung.


What does bother me is when the British National anthem is sung for English
sporting occasions. The inference being that English is synonomous with
British. This means that the Welsh, Scots and Northern Irish have the same
status as the Polish Labourer. Useful and tolerated but not really welcomed
and certainly not one of us.


Come on Newsnight, do something for National Unity and find us an English
national anthem and let us keep the British Anthem for British events

  • 3.
  • At 11:30 PM on 11 Dec 2007,
  • Ajmal wrote:

Mark Urban's fawning coverage of US occupation of Iraq (Tuesday, 11 Dec 2007) reduced Newsnight to a propaganda mouthpiece. Urban successfully managed to avoid such terms as collaborators (US-paid "locals") and resistance fighters ("militias"), in obvious deference to his military hosts. The self-centredness of the interviewed troops - musing on whether their "fallen bros" sacrifice could be justified - was played out without comment or reminder about the relatively prosperous country - even under a murderous dictator - that Iraq used to be, before being subjugated to foreign occupation and interests.

  • 4.
  • At 11:38 PM on 11 Dec 2007,
  • Ajmal wrote:

Mark Urban's fawning coverage of US occupation of Iraq (Tuesday, 11 Dec 2007) reduced Newsnight's Iraq review to a propaganda mouthpiece. The roving correspondent, no doubt in deference to his military hosts, managed to avoid such terms as collaborators (US-paid "locals") and resistance fighters ("militias"), in his entire long report. Meanwhile, the self-centredness of the interviewed troops - musing on whether their "fallen bros" sacrifice could be justified - was played out without any comment or reminder about the relatively prosperous country - even under a murderous dictator - that Iraq used to be, before becoming subjugated to foreign occupation and interests.

  • 5.
  • At 12:05 AM on 12 Dec 2007,
  • Baz wrote:

So no mention on the program, nor indeed anywhere I can find on the BBC News web site, of the World Service survey that shows that fewer than a third of Britons believe the BBC performs well when it comes to accurate news reporting.

Well I'm afraid that I'm with the majority on this. The last tatters of trust have been blown away and I now do not believe a word the BBC says.

Lord Reith said that the BBC should inform, educate and entertain. These days misinform, indoctrinate and entertain would be more accurate.

  • 6.
  • At 12:14 AM on 12 Dec 2007,
  • neil robertson wrote:

I found Mark Urban two reports - both yesterday and today - quite
fascinating ... careful measured
journalism done at some personal
risk - and with usual scepticism.

Of course he had to be 'embedded'
but most viewers understood that.
The common theme between both the reports was the switch to a dollar
based strategy of buying the peace.

And rightly he was sceptical about
the long-term sustainability of it.
And quite critical of these gated
communities - quite like Belfast?

  • 7.
  • At 12:31 AM on 12 Dec 2007,
  • Bob Goodall wrote:

Dear Newsnight

Interesting and encouraging story by Mark Urban

perhaps it also illustrates that strategy may sometimes achieve an objective when force alone cannot realise it?

best wishes
Bob

Well I thought Mark Urban's report from Iraq was excellent. He was incredibly brave to go back to Iraq, and I don't consider it to be propoganda at all. I watched Al-Jazeera earlier today, where they had a report showing tourism in Karbala (a holy Shi'ite shrine) had gone up, as borders between Iran and Iraq had been relaxed, with revenues of US$3billion per annum. If Mark's report had been fabricated, would Iraq have been able to have tourists, and would a channel like Al-Jazeera have broadcast such a thing? The Al-Jazeera report showed that there were no bombs/suicide bombers since, and the 1000 year old shrine had been restored. Good on you Mark for going out there to Iraq and showing it like it is - and it was a fair and balanced report - which included one soldier's belief that the war was not worth it. Brilliant Jeremy tonight too (40/10)-both with Hilary Benn on the Climate conference and with Richard Watson on the Al-Qaeda attack in Algeria. Can't wait to find out what's on tomorrow, and I particularly look forward to Thursday night's big booze debate!!!!! :-)

No mention of Israel's attack on GAZA, BUT I EXPECT THAT AFTER SIXTY YEARS OF DISPOSSESSION, DISPLACEMENT AND ETHNIC CLEANSING, IT'S NO LONGER NEWS....

https://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/default.stm

Salaam/Shalom/Shanthi/Dorood/Peace
Namaste -ed

If we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.
-- Samuel Adams

  • 10.
  • At 09:24 AM on 12 Dec 2007,
  • Jon Owen wrote:

Does anybody know / recall the map website used to show carbon footprints on the programme last night?

Funny old world, eh?

In two sentences we go from the stark choices of agreement versus oblivion to the need for fairness. Which seems to mean, if the ongoing 'debates' are anything to go on, not much agreement. Which leaves...?

I came to this second slot 'Meanwhile, in other news: the end of the world' topic via Mark Urban's excellent and courageous report from Iraq. For what it's worth, enough to reshape some of my views on this mess, and also the BBC's ability to report on things with objectivity. Well done.

But it also highlights the pointlessness of dealing with entrenched positions. Some will not be happy, or change their views, no matter what they are told. Though perhaps what they are told these days and by whom are factors. Trust is a crushed butterfly now.

I am simply struck by how large numbers see fit to ignore basic facts, critique without solution, or fail to accept that some solutions are no longer that simple.

Hence there are US troops in Iraq, Israel exists, and there are 6 billion and counting humans who have or all one day will want a car and a/c. Deal with it. Composting toilets in Islington won't address the bi-monthly trips to Gstaad, my loves.

Or, though sweet, I rather doubt the poppet in the US switching off her lights is going to do much to offset the whole house being cooled 24/7, 365/365, if they live in a Southern state.

Which is what sprang to mind as I saw Roger 'Mr. Benn, I presume?' Harrabin emerging from the jungle in full suit, as was our Minister of hot air. If you wear 3 layers and/or a neck vice in 30 degrees and 90% humidity, you probably need a bit of carbon-guzzling energy to keep you cool (it would be fascinating to see if all switch off when they leave their rooms, or maybe after a hard day it is nice to come back to more than a silly fan can provide). Along with all the other 5* trappings, such as tinkling fountains and a fresh flower on the pillow each day, all interesting messages that don't quite equate with what the self-appointed messengers seem to be saying.

Not that they are saying very much, or if they do, much that means anything.

'The current draft has a reference to set a target..' I think I heard. Spiffy. That'll do it for the old agreement vs. oblivion balance, quicksmart. We're saved!

Mr. Benn talks reductions/mitigations, but his government and country don't seem to be able to actually do 'em. All I have heard of late is missed or rearranged targets that serve only as topics to justify global jollies to discuss, and the ringfencing of this island by offshore windfarms.

Thing is, I can't seem to get any sense out of anyone as to how these things might work to actually reduce emissions. If they are as green as they look then fine, but if not (deliverables such as actual outputs and reliability - the lasting through design life variety) it's another con to add another nail in the credibility of those who claim to be concerned about our future and acting sensibly to addressing its preservation.

I care, and I do. But heaven help us that, as an environmentalist and climate pessimist and proactivist, I am so sick of the current crop of pols and media camp followers who don't do as they say, I almost feel ready to say the hell with it all and book my own 'study' of 'climate change' in Antarctic for Christmas and join them all round the polar bar for a swift toast to the end of our world.

The end of the world. That's what oblivion means, right? And yet at time of upload this is the second post on this topic. Maybe the rules of engagement need looking at a bit? And I don't mean in Iraq.

  • 12.
  • At 01:01 PM on 12 Dec 2007,
  • Alistair Shaw wrote:

I'm sure those young American soldiers are decent men trying to do their best, and it looks like they're having some success too. But can we just remind ourselves of the cause of the appallingly low base they're starting from.

Let's break down the subtext of Mark's piece: 'You illegally invaded a country that was of danger to no-one; watched as the country imploded (who saw that coming?!); have the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people on your hands, plenty of them first-hand; thrown thousands of troops at quietening things down for a bit so that Dubya can claim some success; and it's so far it's working. Bravo, well done you.'

Mark's report was like cutting a bull loose in a china shop then giving it a treat for repairing a few vases afterwards.

I know you're seeing this stuff at first hand, Mark, but please don't forget the context. Our reasons for being there remain about a grubby resource grab, not making the lives of the Iraqi people better.

Peter (11),

I understood the report to indicate that Balifest will be considered a success if it results in an agreement to meet again to discuss an agreement.

Or am I being over-cynical?

As to 24/7 encapsulation:
https://home.btconnect.com/tipiglen/hypermobility.html
https://home.btconnect.com/tipiglen/anewspecies.html

Salaam/Shalom/Shanthi/Dorood/Peace
Namaste -ed

Behold, the fool saith, "Put not all thine eggs in the one basket"--which is but a manner of saying, "Scatter your money and your attention;" but the wise man saith, "Put all your eggs in the one basket and--WATCH THAT BASKET."
-- Mark Twain, "Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar"

  • 14.
  • At 02:00 PM on 12 Dec 2007,
  • Ian Button wrote:

Climate-change/global warming really is the only issue worth thinking about - Iraq & Israel won't matter when the waves are breaking over London. And George Monbiot is absolutely right. The only way I see to make a quick reversal is to slap a huge worldwide tax on energy (domestic & industrial) and use the income to try & repair the damage. Too bad about industry - we'll just have to cultivate our gardens to stay alive, instead of going to work to earn the money. It'll take care of the credit gap, anyway - we've already bought several years worth of goods & services with our trillions of credit, so a few production-less years will help to bring us level again.

Peter (11),

I understood the report to indicate that Balifest will be considered a success if it results in an agreement to meet again to discuss an agreement.

Or am I being over-cynical?

As to 24/7 encapsulation:
https://home.btconnect.com/tipiglen/hypermobility.html
https://home.btconnect.com/tipiglen/anewspecies.html

Salaam/Shalom/Shanthi/Dorood/Peace
Namaste -ed

Behold, the fool saith, "Put not all thine eggs in the one basket"--which is but a manner of saying, "Scatter your money and your attention;" but the wise man saith, "Put all your eggs in the one basket and--WATCH THAT BASKET."
-- Mark Twain, "Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar"

  • 16.
  • At 11:52 PM on 12 Dec 2007,
  • A. Britton wrote:

Please can you direct me /send me the excellent 'carbon footprint' maps of the world showing per capita values of energy consumption. (On BBC World reference was also made to them being on Newsnight.)

  • 17.
  • At 12:01 PM on 14 Dec 2007,
  • Bob wrote:

you can find it at https://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7136262.stm
Please let me know if you find good resolution static versions that could be used for education. Thanks

  • 18.
  • At 07:17 PM on 17 Dec 2007,
  • Brian Nathan wrote:

Following further loss of confidential material one wonders has no-one in the offices sending these cds dvds or whatever, never heard of secure mailing by the Post Office or private companies. The letters or parcels are tracked all the way and delivery is confirmed with a note of the time and a receipt from the recipient. If the post office cannot be trusted I am sure a private messenger service where an individual carrier, perhaps a motorcyclist who has been security cleared would do the trick. Surely it can't be that these government offices are trying to save money!

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