tv BBC Newsnight WHUT May 12, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
♪ >> this is "bbc newsnight." funding for this presentation is made possible by -- the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu newman's own foundation focus features and union bank >> said union bank, our relationship managers use their expertise in global finance to guide you through the opportunities of international commerce. we put our extended global network to work for a wide range of companies, from small businesses to major corporations. what can we do for you? >> and now, "bbc newsnight."
>> this week, and enhanced interrogation technique to some. to others, to torture. a former cia chief tells is what he stands by his decision about al qaeda suspects the waterboarding. >> it is not a pretty sight. >> when your water boarded, let me be perfectly honest. >> the rise of the far right is pivotal in the french election. is are still edging creating divisions? we speak to one of the country's suspects bowl -- successful sportsmen. ♪ >> and the man behind blur and gorillaz goes back to his roots. damon albarn on his new english opera. hello. it looks like it will be a year,
maybe more, before the man america believes was behind the september 11 attacks is formally put on trial, charged with 2976 motor speed of the u.s. government admits he was interrogated under so-called waterboarding, a simulated drowning, which the u.s. government claims is not torture. now, we have discovered that secret cia videotapes from another so-called high value al qaeda at detainee being water boarded apparently shows some of of mending and screaming to the tapes were destroyed by a senior cia officer who was not given an exclusive interview to. taylor. >> waterboarding, that is simulated drowning, was the most extreme elements in the cia's highly controversial interrogation techniques used to break al qaeda detainees. jose rodriguez ran the cia's top-secret program in the years
immediately after 9/11, when fears of a second strike were all too real. to many, the program was torture. >> it is not a pretty sight. >> when your waterboarding anybody or using these techniques, let me be perfectly honest here. >> one of detainee was water boarded 83 times. the cia videotape once -- what he went through. >> he was experiencing some physical difficulties. i will leave it at that. >> with the tape -- what if the tape showed should become devastating should it become public? rodriguez destroy them. >> i am proud of the decisions that i took, including the destruction of the tapes. >> in an exclusive interview, jose rodriguez is a disturbing
insights into the cia's secret program and the cover up that followed. america's detention center at guantanamo bay, cuba has become synonymous with torture and the abuses of the so-called war on terror. president obama promised to shut it down but has been unable to do so. instead, he is now having to use guantanamo as the site for a military tribunal to try khalid shaikh mohammed, the alleged architect of 9/11, and four of his alleged co-conspirators. torture will become one of the most contentious issues at the trial. >> coley jedd mohamad was an evil man, probably one of the most evil men that i have come across. and he was seeking different ways of trying to kill us and
kill our allies. -- kaleda shaikh mohammed was an evil man. >> today, the painful memories of 9/11 are reflected in the new memorial garden on the site where the twin towers once stood. but other dark memories of followed as the cia hunted down al qaeda. in the months after 9/11, the white house was determined to do all that it could to prevent another attack, and it took an unprecedented step. it authorized the cia to use aggressive and highly controversial techniques at its black sites. these enhanced interrogation techniques were designed to break the prisoners, and zubaydah to be the guinea pig. >> zubaydah was planner and facilitator. he was a senior al qaeda person.
also very smart. [gunfire] zubaydah sees in pakistan six months after 9/11 and rendered to a secret cia black side thought to be in thailand. he was the first high-value targets to be captured. initially, he was interviewed by the fbi, who did not lay a finger on him. he revealed to them the i did it did publish identity of khalid shaikh mohammed, but the cia thought he was holding back. >> we were dead in the water. he had shut down. he was not talking. and we needed to come up with a set of alternative techniques that would convince the terrorist that he had no control over the situation, that his
fate was in our hands. >> the cia's top lawyer believed it was essential to have the secret techniques authorized at the highest level. >> there was considerable hesitation. that was the entire reason frankly that i made the decision to make sure that we were not going to conduct these kinds of unprecedented activities. without the full and complete legal and policy approval at the highest levels of the bush administration. >> a confinement box, like a dog kennel, was constructed, and zubaydah to shut inside for a total darkness for hours on end. and he was subjected to the most extreme technique, being water
board it 83 times. u.s. government lawyers claimed it, like the other techniques, was lawful, because the pain and suffering were not severe. a top-secret legal memo from the department of justice described the process in chillingly mundane detail. >> the individual is bound securely. the water is usually applied from the canteen cup. air now slightly restricted for 20 to 40 seconds. this action and the clot produces the perception of suffocationnd they began to panic. the perception of drowning. andand zubaydah'activitys interrogations were recorded across 9 video2 tips, some showing him undergoing the techniques in graphic detail. -- in 92 videotapes.
>> do you regard them as torture? >> i do, personally. they fit the definition of torture. >> the year after his capture, the cia finally closed in on it khalid shaikh mohammed. in 2003, he was captured in pakistan and flown to a secret black site for interrogation, thought to be in poland. >> khalid shaikh mohammed was probably the toughest detainee that we ever had, and he was going to resist to the end. >> in an effort to break him, he was deprived of sleep for more than a week. forced to stand naked. finally, he was water boarded 183 times. >> isn't that y above the infliction of pain and suffering?
and when that is done 183 times? >> kylie shaikh mohammed -- khalid shaikh mohammed was start counting with fingers on his hand to let us know that the 10 seconds was about to come up. because he knew that usually that is when it stopped. that does not sound like a man who was concerned about dying, does it? >> i did not anticipate that the water board, when and if it was ever used, would be used as often as it was. >> after several weeks, khalid shaikh mohammed finally reached the breaking point and started to talk. >> these terrorists have huge egos. they cannot wait to tell you how smart they are, how capable they are, how evil they are. but at some point, they give it up. in his case, when he gave it up,
he just would not stop talking. >> i knew what w happening to our detainees. you cannot help but drive home every night and say, i wonder if this is the direction we have to go? then you see the faces of the fallen in the "new york times" and you would read the detainee reports that held that to prevent plots. you would say that there is a tunnel -- a child that may grow up without a parent who would have otherwise lost a parent. >> rodriguez insists the techniques word. he says he confirmed the intelligence that finally led to osama bin laden's hite out and provided details of plots to attack los angeles, heathrow airport, and canary wharf. but the use of the secret techniques subsequently produced an explosive fallout. 12 of the c.i.a.'s tapes showed zubaydah and another prisoner be subjected to the techniques,
including waterboarding. rodriguez decided to stop any future recordings, and the 92 tapes were rock -- locked away for three years. but when news of the black sites came out, rodriguez decided to shred them. >> why did you destroy the tapes of the interrogation? >> i did it to protect the officers whose faces were shown in interrogation. >> was that the only reason you destroyed the tapes? >> yes. >> were you authorized to destroy the tapes? >> our lawyers said that it was legal. >> i was angry and honestly a bit hurt. i made it clear to the two cia director is that he did not have the authority. it was not his call to make a decision to destroy those tapes. >> so he disobeyed orders?
>> he did. >> up till now, what was on the cia tape says it remained a closely guarded secret, but it is a secret no more. i understand they show zubaydah vomiting a screennd as he is being water boarded. -- and screaming as he was being waterboarding. >> what did they show? >> do you know but the reaction. there were the tapes of the interrogation. i do not know what his reaction was as he was waterboarding. >> did you see the stage? >> no, i did not. -- did you see those tapes? >> no. >> his interrogators insisted there was no vommiting or screaming, he says. the lawyer went to watch the tapes, and a lawyer concluded they were within legal zayed -- guidelines. >> i will not get into
specifics, but he was reacting visibly in a very disturbing way. >> was he getting sick? >> he was not -- he was experiencing some physical disability. i will leave it at that. >> was he screaming? >> that, i do not know. >> but not easy to watch? >> no, he told me they were very, very hard to watch. tough to watch, i believe, was his term. >> two days after the tapes destruction, there was a secret cia memorandum. it suggests that protecting the identities of the interrogators z's not jose rodriguez
concern. as he said, the heat from destroying is nothing compared to what it would be the tips got into the public domain. he set out of context, it would make us look terrible. it would be devastating to us. >> you must have been aware of what those tapes showed in order for you to believe that the effect would be devastating. >> well, it is not a pretty sight when you're waterboarding anybody or using any of these techniques. to be perfectly honest. >> in your screaming and vomiting? >> i do not know about that, but it is not a pretty sight. >> but did you say that if it became public, that would make us look terrible and it would be devastating? >> yes, of course i said that. yes. if your waterboarding somebody and they are naked, of course. that was a concern of mine, yes. ♪
>> the trial of khalid shaikh mohammed and the alleged 9/11 plotters will arrau's conflicting memories. -- will bring conflicting memories to the memories of the 3000 lives lost on 9/11 and memories of the methods used in america's name to bring those responsible to justice. >> . taylor reporting. in france, the outcome of the presidential election has been attributed by many to the strength and influence of the far-right national front. they won nearly a fifth of the votes cast in the first round of the elections, and nicolas sarkozy president to cozy up to some of their supporters split his party. now instead of turning to the usual journalist, a cultural commentators, and political has- beens, my colleague jeremy paxman has been speaking to a soccer player from the english premier league. the french international striker.
>> what you think about the fact that one in five of your countrymen and women voted for them? >> it is unpleasant. you know. it is like the look at the relation and you feel like president sarkozy was trying to win his voters. no, it was not nice, but we're not surprised because he has been there for a long time. >> why do the the national front is on the rise in france? >> maybe a sign of protest on the politics. it is possible people do not know about the economic issues. they have a rough idea, but i do not think there really are aware of things. also, it is like some people trying to solve their individual problems. it is a response. >> do you feel when you go to france a different sort of
racial awareness from what you find here? >> yes, definitely. for some reason, the discrimination is a bit high end compared to what i experience in england. maybe a success or many departments in england, it is possible for everyone. the opportunity is greater. i do not see that as much in france. even the i am not living there for a long time, i still feel that some of the people are alone. >> when you look at those pictures there of the financial french world cup winning team, 1998, that was black people. there were arab people, white people. why did not that -- why didn't that take on? >> i do not really know the thing is, like, it is hazy because it is will cover. everywhere in the world, we see that. it was viewed as a political
thing, you know, to say that we are an example of integration and stuff like this. but maybe in 2005, they were just hiding things. like, it was an issue because of the economics and the people suffering to meet ends at the end of the month. it is was a great night for french people, but not enough to solve the issues. >> you yourself experienced racial prejudice in france? >> yes, when i was younger. i try to understand how i felt at a stadium, and -- [unintelligible] so much different in different countries. so much fighting against that. that is an issue that has to resolved. >> what about these recently reported, on the subject of the
court case, these recently reported cases of alleged racism among players in the premiership? teddy come across that? >> no, that is why i was surprised. >> what about from the fans? >> yes, you could say, but if you try it to compare to europe, especially from italy or spain, countries like this, it is a lot worse. also, i do not see england to be a bad example at all. they are paradise for any footballers. i think it is a great fight that has been done over the past 20 years. >> now the front of a real rock band in blur and the musical brain against the gorillaz, damon albarn musical career has
taken him around the world, and he has collaborated with resistance from africa to china. now that the country is getting ready for the olympic games, he has turned to his home town lead to for inspiration in writing a very english opera. our correspondent went to meet him. >> i am fascinated by this. i did not have a religious upbringing at all. i just wanted to go into churches. there's something about that cusp between that time in england and the early christians. i imagine that world. it seems a very scary but a magical place. ♪ damon albarn is best known as the front man of favorites blur and co creator of the cartoon and the gorillaz.
but in this year of jubilee and the olympics, he is channeling his own personal and slightly archaic sense of what his country need -- means to him. ♪ >> is that still in england? >> yes, it is everywhere. i think it is very much still there with us. and it is in the cities as well. when a fox stairs and me, first thing in the morning, it is the same thing. when i hear a black bird, it is the same thing. that is what magic is about, tune in yourself. tining yourself into -- tunin yourselfg into aspects of subconscious. ♪
>> for the cultural olympiad, he is contributing an opera he has written about the life of dr. d, extraordinary figure at the court of elizabeth's roman one. -- elizabeth 1. he was like an angel. >> they also had this extraordinary sort of belief that he could combine all these disciplines and somehow work for the state, for queen elizabeth. so in many ways, he embodied that. the idea. ♪ >> there was this incredible struggle during that time between the past and superstition and these new ideas. the advances in medicine, everything was right on the cusp of becoming science.
and he was at the epicenter of that. ♪ >> the lazy journalistic cliche about damon albarn is that he is a bit of a renaissance man himself. cover bowl with electric guitars as much as he is with a dirty church bell. >> what got you to get your own bells made? >> was born in the adjacent hospital. so there was a connection with that. and this one is particularly important, because it is d. dr. d. and dr. d. as a musical piece essentially in d.
♪ >> a song inspired by one elizabethan age which will be performed for another. his own heart, burst that pride at the thought of the jubilee or not so much? >> you cannot really separate the story of england from the kings and queens. does that leave you feeling, dare i say it, vaguely mark berndt -- monarchist or no? >> no, not monarchist. >> so it could have happened without them. >> i afascinated in our history, and each rain is a frame. sounds like a lyric. >> yes, should i make a note of that. >> not a great one. but you cannot really say you like or dislike the royal family because you do not know them.
i do not know them. i have very little chance of that i will ever have access to them, although i would not necessarily want access. >> you might be offered a gong. >> well, that is a silly thing, and it certainly would not be interested in anything like that, not really my cup of tea. ♪ >> blur also be involved with the olympics, bringing the curtain down at a concert in london. >> will it be a final accounting for the four young heroes? >> i do not know. we do not know. we have got a lot of shared history. we still get on very well. there's still a magical experience. i do not know what is around the corner. my mum taught me that. >> how did she teach you that? >> she said you never know what is around the corner, and she
was absolutely right. ♪ >> that is offer this week. from all of us, goodbye. ♪ >> funding for this presentation is made possible by -- the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. and union bank. ♪ >> at union bank, our relationship managers work hard to know your business. offering specialized solutions and capital to help you meet your growth objectives. we offer expertise and tailored solutions for small businesses and major corporations. what can we do for you? ♪ >> "bbc newsnight" presented by