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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  February 21, 2017 12:30am-1:00am GMT

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has footage has emerged at the moment the brother of the north korean leader was attacked in malaysia. the images appear to show a woman showing up to kim jong—nam images appear to show a woman showing up to kimjong—nam and holding something over his face at kuala lumpur or airport. he holding something over his face at kuala lumpur orairport. he died holding something over his face at kuala lumpur or airport. he died a short time later. four people have been arrested. a small plane has crashed into a shopping centre near an airport in melbourne. the aircraft had five people on board and authority said there could be fatalities. and the story is trending on bbc .com. ben stokes has become the most expensive foreign player in the ipl. add an option in bangalore, he was bought for more than $2 million. that is all from the team. stay with us here on bbc world news. —— at an auction. more from me later, but here is harttalk.
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welcome to hardtalk. i'm stephen sackur. it's the job of the journalist to speak truth to power, but it can be a lonely place, defying conventional wisdom and the powers that be. my guest today has known that loneliness. irish journalist david walsh was convinced that cycling's untouchable champion, lance armstrong, was a drugs cheat, long before the sport revealed the scale of his deceit. armstrong is now history, of course, but doping continues to devalue elite sport. david walsh, welcome to hardtalk.
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thank you. i want you to, if you would, cast your mind back to starting as a young journalist in ireland, working on sports. you memorably described yourself then as "a fan with a typewriter". do you still regard yourself as a fan? in certain respects, yes, but in a general sense, no. i think a journalist has to leave that behind. i mean it — i think the predominant reason why people want to be sports writers is because they love sport. in my case, i mean, i knew from a very early stage i wanted to be a sports writer and it's because i liked writing essays when i was in english class, as a kid, and i loved sport.
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and i put the two together and it equalled sports reporter. before we get to the state of sport today, we must talk about lance armstrong and your pursuit, and i think that's the right word, you used it as the subtitle of your book about him, the seven deadly sins. and you talked about your pursuit of lance armstrong. why did you turn it into a crusade, a mission, you against him? well, that is how it turned out. i don't know if i consciously decided, i'm going to dedicate all this time to pursuing one guy. i mean, the sport was dirty at the time. lance was one of many riders who doped, but they all didn't dope, there were plenty of guys who were clean, and who got completely betrayed by their sport. the reason why lance became such an important figure was because he was an emblem for what we were told was to change sport. he was this fantastically feelgood story. the guy that came back from cancer. yeah, he almost died from testicular cancer. and then in 1999, he rode the tour again, he'd never won it before, but he rode it in 1999, he went on to reel off seven victories. it was perhaps the most heroic
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victory in sport that anybody of my generation can ever remember. yes. and you, more than anyone else, burst that bubble. yeah, see, greg lemond, an american man who had won the tour de france three times, said to me at the very early stage of this investigation that i was conducting into armstrong, he said, "if this comeback from cancer is true, it is the greatest comeback in the history of sport, and it is not true, it's the greatest fraud." now, as a journalist, you are thinking that if this is the greatest fraud, and you believe it is the greatest fraud, you have an absolute responsibility to go after it and reveal it to be a fraud. you came up against an extremely powerful set of interests who did not want that story, your story, to be right. and i'm notjust thinking about lance armstrong and his entourage
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and the us postal team that he represented but i'm also thinking about the authorities in the sport because lance armstrong brought to cycling a sort of profile, a standing in the world of sport which they couldn't find anywhere else so to trash his reputation was to trash the sport as a whole. yes, it was. it was to trash a global icon as well. this is a guy who went on mountain bike rides with president george w bush. this is a guy who was best friends with matthew mcconaughey, the hollywood actor. this is a man who went way beyond his sport and who people around the world looked up to as some kind of saviour. he was fighting cancer, he had come back from cancer, life—threatening cancer, and every single person, no matter where you live, you knew somebody with cancer, family, a relative, and you were going out and you are buying lance's book and saying read this and find inspiration. how apprehensive were you about this — and let's use this word again — pursuit.
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the lawyers representing armstrong were consistently on your case and the case of your newspaper, the sunday times. that went for about three years, 2004, 2005, 2006. those years were dominated by meetings with lawyers and discussing the case. a case that we were always going to lose because of the uk's draconian libel laws. armstrong could never sue us in america, he could never sue us in france, because in those countries, the burden of proof would have been on armstrong, to prove that i was lying, and i was never lying. but in this country, we had to prove that armstrong was doping and that was close to impossible. you got other cyclists to talk, and we now know that, as you just said, the systematic doping was rife in many different teams, many top cyclist were doing it. —— cyclists. how did you break down the sort of wall of silence, the 0merta, if you like, that there was at the top of elite cycling? because i tried and when you try to do, and i believe it was the right thing, i mean i started with one —
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i exposed one key bit of information, that armstrong worked with a doping doctor. a simple question, why would a so—called "clean rider" work with a doping doctor? armstrong said he believed the doctor was in a honest man and people accepted that. the doctor was due to stand trial two months after armstrong said that, for doping. he was convicted and eventually got off on appeal, statute of limitation, again. but when people see you trying to do the right thing, they come forward. i had betsy andreu, wife of frankie, lance's long—time teammate, i had emma 0'reilly, who had been a personal masseuse to lance when he won his first tour de france. they came to me and told their story. steven swart from new zealand, he said he rode with lance, and he said that lance was the biggest advocate of doping in his team. three witnesses with first—hand evidence of lance's doping. i put it all in a book and i thought that was it but armstrong was too powerful, even with all the evidence in the world, you couldn't bring him down.
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and it wasn't until five years ago that actually the us cycling authorities, and then it moved on to the world doping authorities, but they finally revealed the truth of the scale of the doping that armstrong had been involved in and in the end he was banned from cycling. in fact, banned from all professional sport. he's finished and now he is way beyond the age where he could be a cyclist, but if you were to meet lance armstrong today, what would you say to him? it's a question i have often considered. i think i would want the conversation to be incredibly private. i wouldn't want it to be in any way used by lance or anyone else for pr purposes. i would like to ask him about the people who knew, the people who still have never been revealed as conspirators in what was a huge sporting fraud. because he's never
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told the full story. no, he's always said he's not going to be a rat. he's not going to rat out the people around me, or... the relationship between you and him and goodness knows, it is even a hollywood movie, the relationship between you and him is fascinating. when did you actually last see him and swap words with him? well, the 2004 tour de france, at a press conference where the book had just come out. i am sitting in the front row. he was asked about the book and looks down at me and says, "seeing as the esteemed author was here, i will answer this question". he said the extraordinary allegations as mr walsh has made must be followed with extraordinary proof. it was a simple question, why should it be extraordinary proof for lance armstrong? but lance was absolutely right. 0rdinary proof didn't touch him. you needed... and in the end, the united states anti—doping agency got 26 witnesses. ii of them were former team—mates, all with first—hand accounts of lance's doping. do you in any way resent... i mean, it made, in a sense, it made your career,
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journalist longed to have that defining story that will win them awards, make hollywood movies, and you have that. but you also, and this is important, you also found your life consumed by this and at one point, your daughter made a comment when she saw interviewed on tv about lance and she said, "oh, there you go again, dad, i'm watching you on telly while the rest of the family are having dinner, same old, same old." you know, you sacrificed a lot for this. was it really worth it? it totally was worth it, and i never saw it as a sacrifice. this was the most fun i was ever going to have as a journalist. i mean, people are always astounded when i say that. they say, "you were sued, this guy won, he made your newspaper — he cost your newspaper a million, that must have been horrible!" "and your family." and i said actually, it wasn't horrible. i really had a good time. i never felt more journalistically
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alive as i was during those years. i know it is a preposterous kind of comparison because what happened with carl bernstein and bob woodward and watergate was vastly bigger than armstrong, but if you look at that movie, all the president's men, what you see are two journalists on the case, having the time of their lives, knowing there will never be another story like this. on a much smaller scale, i had that feeling with armstrong. well, i can see the excitement shining in your eyes right now. but it forces me, then, to move the clock forward, and talk about how you have conducted some of your journalism in more recent years. you haven't left sport, and certainly you haven't left a cycling. you are still a very influential cycling journalist. why oh why, having learnt the lessons learned from the armstrong case, did you decide in more recent years to vouch for, in a really significant way, the honesty, the credibility, of the dominant cycling team of recent years,
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team sky, when so many other journalists are saying that you can't be sure they are clean when the industry is still full of drugs. why did you do that? i was offered the opportunity to spend 13 weeks inside team sky. i could spend as long as i like, and i... almost like a militaryjournalists go with the army during a war. you went to team sky and you lived with them, ate with them, but frankly, they were using them as a tool, because they wanted to convince you that they were the new clean team. you — i think it is right to say that they used me, but in fairness to all the good people in team sky, because i believe that i think about 70 or 80 people are working in the team. i believe if you took four people out of that team and one of them is already gone, that you would have very clean team. i was invited to go into that team by dave brailsford, there's no question he duped me. he...
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he duped you? he did. he is sir dave brailsford now, he was knighted. if he had told me at the time he was inviting me into the team, "by the way, just so you know the full picture, we gave a therapeutic use exemption to bradley before the 2011 tour de france." we will have two hold up a little bit —— we will have to hold up a little bit and explain some of this for our audience because it is quite complicated, but the therapeutic use exemption is important in the world of professional cycling because it means banned substances can be given as long as there is proof there is a medical need and now we are talking about bradley wiggins, who won the tour de france in 2012, but it turns out — we didn't know at the time — and you didn't know when you were embedded with team sky, but it turns out that in three of his most significant lifetime races, just before those races, he got these therapeutic use exemptions and he took a drug which could, in theory, have significantly enhanced his performance. yes. and, and the thing about it is you can say oh,
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brailsford duped you, he didn't tell you. but he actually duped lots of people inside his own team. chris froome, who finished second in the tour de france, he had no idea that bradley wiggins was give these tues. chris froome has said... let's be clear, what bradley wiggins took, because he got the therapeutic exemption, it was not in any way illegal or contrary to the rules of the sport. i think it's more correct to say it may not have been illegal. because if you get a therapeutic use exemption, by exaggerating your symptoms, that's not legal. now, we don't know that. it may be that bradley wiggins was utterly entitled to get that tue. that's the part we don't know. would it have been different if bradley wiggins and the team had but they would have drawn. huge” 7 77. w-.- m.
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people would have said, "why did he need it four days before the race?" and there's a reason why they didn't tell people. they didn't tell chris froome, they didn't tell any other rider in team sky, they didn't tell some of the doctors in the team, they didn't know about this. but it comes back to, and we touched on this earlier in the conversation, the degree to which you as a journalist have the right without the most powerful evidence, to trash the reputations and careers of elite sports people. you in the last, let's say, six months, have gone out and very consciously, if i may say so, trashed bradley wiggins. you've said that you don't want to hear any more about his 2012 tour de france victory, because in your view it's been completely devalued. you said that as far as you're concerned bradley wiggins‘ reputation has been lost. and yet, i come back to the point, the man has done nothing wrong in terms of the rules of his sport. in terms of the rules of the sport, he certainly hasn't been sanctioned. i don't accept the point that it's absolute, that they didn't commit
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a doping infraction. i mean, there's a big investigation going on about a mysterious medical package that was delivered to bradley wiggins at a race in france in 2011. sky have failed to say what was in that package. that could have meant something that wasn't legal. if it was legal, why didn't they tell us when we asked what was in the package? it took them so long to come out and tell us. the point here is, you can say that i'm trashing him. team sky's leading rider now, three—time winner of the tour de france, has said that in his view what happened with bradley wiggins was unethical and immoral. you're talking about chris froome? yes. in a way, one of the most interesting things about this whole ethical, moral morass that you've entered and been in for so long now is your decision to be so harsh on what we now know about bradley wiggins, but still to maintain that as far as you are concerned, and your personal knowledge
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of the man, that chris froome, the three—time tour de france winner, in your view is a man that you will always vouch for. you completely believe in his credibility and you will not countenance any questioning, which others do, the legitimacy of his race victories. no, i will never say i don't countenance his questioning. everyone has the right to question, that's what i do as a living. why would i say somebody doesn't have the right to question him? you co—authored his book. you have shaken hands with the man, you have said to chris froome, "i believe in you." what would you like me to do? would you like me to say, "i really believe in chris froome but it would be prudent of me to hedge my bets here." just sit on the fence? that's not my nature, i'm not going to do it. it's exactly what some of the most experienced people in the business say you should have done. i'm thinking of frankie andreu, the rider you've worked with to a certain extent as a source. he said, "when it comes to chris froome you have been naive." "why didn't you just stay neutral," he said to you a while ago.
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"why say and vouch for the fact that he's clean when at some future point you might just look stupid if he turns out that he wasn't?" i don't see my reputation as being that relevant. what i see as being relevant is if i believe somebody is clean, i'm not going to lie and say i don't believe he's clean. i'm not going to say, "sit on the fence, david, because you never know what might happen in the future." if you believe somebody is clean, you owe it to that person to say it because if i didn't believe he's clean, i would say the opposite. so for me this idea of sitting on the fence is totally unappealing. i understand what you're saying, but to pick away at this for one more moment on chris froome. we also know that he used a therapeutic exemption clause. actually in a race, not even before a race but during a race he got an exemption to take a drug which was on the banned list. yes. yet you say that was fundamentally different from bradley wiggins. you also say that you're partly convinced by chris froome because you had, and this is in your book, you had a very private one—on—one talk with him
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when he explained lots of things. what did he say to you that convinced you so much of his integrity? it wasn't just that but that was a moment where... and by the way, i never, you know... let me maybe put that conversation first into the context. i'm in a hoteland i'm walking up the fire escape and he's coming down. it's one of those stairways where there's nobody going to come, you just know. and he stopped, and he said to me, "i want to tell you one thing." and i said, "what's that, chris?" he said, "i'm telling you now that as long as i live, what i've achieved in this race will never... the perception of it will never be changed by anything that's going to come out." but you know what, the crazy thing is lance armstrong would have looked you in the eye and said just the same thing if he'd met you on a fire escape in 2001. he didn't. see, that's it. i actually met lance and i spoke to him and we said, "lance, what about doping?
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this sport has got so much bad press. and here you are winning the tour de france for the first time." and this is what lance said. he said, "look, i'm going to address this question once and once only. and i'm saying to you guys, you journalists, you've got to fall in love with cycling again." he never actually said, "i would never dope, i do not dope." he said, "i have tested positive, i have passed all of the controls." now, if you're covering the sport and you're a sports writer and you see lots of this stuff, you actually know how to read what people are saying and saying, i have passed all the tests is not the same as saying, "i don't dope." how can it be, and i want to broaden the conversation now, because cycling has been one of your key focuses. but you've also looked at wider sport and drugs in professional, elite sport as a whole. how can it be that after decades of focus on stamping out the illegal substances in sports, performance enhancing drugs, that here today we probably can say that there is more systematic use of performance enhancing drugs in athletics, in cycling,
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in other sports than there's ever been before? i don't think you can say that. look at what we've learned about the russians. yes, systematic doping in russia. in the past there's been systematic doping in russia. the russian systematic doping has been going on for at least a0 years according to professor richard mclaren, who did the report. so it's not something new. you've worked in the recent past with a former russian anti—doping executive who blew the whistle on what was going on, plus his partner, who is a former elite athlete who did dope for a while. you worked with them, they're now living in exile in the united states. and they have told you it was industrial scale. yes, of course. but going back through decades. but how come it can have been in the very recent past industrial scale when, as i made the point, the world anti—doping agency, the iaaf, and all of the other different world bodies supposed to be controlling drugs in sport
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have spent years telling us they're cleaning it out. the reason why russia were able to get away with it was because it was state—supported. it's a big deal if you've got the ministry of sport and the anti—doping agency and the anti—doping laboratory all conspiring to cheat. that gives the advantages to their coaches, who are... you're saying men who claim to be on the side of the good guys, like sebastian coe, who now runs the iaaf, the athletics governing body, and indeed the world anti—doping agency, you're saying either they don't have the will or capacity to take on state programmes devoted to doping. they definitely don't have the resources. do they have the will? i'm not sure. if they were better resourced they would have bigger staffs, they'd probably have better people and they would have better protocols. the world anti—doping agency,
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the former director—general, david howman, once said, "our annual budget is less than wayne rooney's annual wages." that is what we put into anti—doping. the entire world anti—doping agency budget for one year is less than one footballer, not even the highest—paid footballer in the world, is less than his annual wages. that's what we think of doping. in other words we're not concerned enough about doping to make a real impact. we're almost at the end. i want to start where i began, the idea of being a fan. you know what dick pound, the former chief of the world anti—doping agency, said to me not long ago on hardtalk? he said, "when i watch particularly cycling today, i simply cannot bear to watch it any more. i cannot take it seriously." he certainly cannot be a fan. how can you still be a fan knowing what you know? what dick has said there is my definition of cynicism. because that starts from the presumption that they're all cheating.
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he called it realism. well, he can, and i can call it cynicism. because what happens if somebody who's clean is winning the tour de france but because you have a preconception that they're all cheats, so you brand him a cheat without having any evidence that he is a cheat, without having any knowledge, without having any insight, without having anything. that to me is cynicism. and i would fight as much against cynicism as i would against people who dope. david walsh, we have to end there. fascinating stuff. thank you for being on hardtalk. thank you. good morning. well, i'm sure you noticed how mild it was on monday, that's because our air was coming all the way in from the caribbean. obviously it got modified quite considerable on its journey acroos across the atlantic but still tropical maritime air flooding in across the uk and it brought some pretty high temperatures with it — 15 degrees at st andrews, but as high as 18 degrees in kew gardens, just to the west of london. is it going to last? well, sadly, no. by the end of the week,
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we are going to the switch the wind direction to a north—westerly. and we are going to see polar maritime air coming our way and that is much cooler air, so by the end of the week we are going to see those temperatures dropping back by several degrees. more like 9 degrees the top temperature in kew gardens. but struggling to get to four orfive in berwick and in st andrews. so a significant drop in temperature by the end of the week. 0vernight, we've got a fair bit of cloud across many parts of the uk 5555 55 55-5 5555 555575? 55 5:15 55555 5 . . maybe a few showers into the far north and west. but with the cloud further south, temperatures holding up quite nicely overnight tonight. 9 or 10 degrees. further north, we areslipping into single figures and there might be a touch of frost in some sheltered glens in northern scotland. there will be some showers in the north and west of scotland from early on. a bit of a breeze as well but the eastern side of scotland will do quite well — there will be some morning sunshine
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and that should last on into the afternoon. the north—east of england also seeing fairly bright weather. further south we do start off with some patchy rain which becomes very light and patchy for the south—east of england. some wet weather out west and that becomes a bit more persistent into the afternoon. and we will see temperatures getting to around about 15 degrees as the absolute maximum. but some places, towards the north east of scotland, for example, around about 7 or 8 degrees. then through the evening, some patchy rain for the southern half of the uk, that tends to fade away. more persistent rain in the north and west of the uk. slowly slipping its way southwards. and it will be quite wet in the north—west of england, for example, tuesday night into wednesday. we could see and inch or two of rain here. and a lot of isobars on the charts. quite a blustery day on wednesday. strongest winds will be in the north, through the morning. gusting to 60—70 mph. the rain continues to work its way south and becomes a bit lighter in the process. some spells of sunshine following behind. 7—9 north of the uk on wednesday. 11—13, still relatively mild, in the south. as we look towards wednesday
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night and onto thursday, another area of low pressure heading our way. question marks aboutjust how much snow we're going to see on the northern flank of the system and how strong the winds will be in the southern flanks. the message is, dtay tuned to the forecast.
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