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tv   Inside Story 2018 Ep 67  Al Jazeera  March 9, 2018 10:32am-11:01am +03

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former campaign chairman paul manifold has denied charges of bank fraud and tax crimes is due to go on trial in july u.s. special counsel robert muller charged him as part of a wide ranging probe into alleged russian meddling in the two thousand and sixteen election syrian forces are continuing their relentless air and ground offensive against east and also close to the capital damascus more than nine hundred people have been killed since the offensive on the rebel stronghold began almost three weeks ago syrian activists have posted video showing what looks like a chlorine gas attack ireland's government has agreed to hold a referendum in may on whether to overturn a constitutional ban on abortion currently terminations are only allowed if the mother's life is at risk almost one million people are without power after heavy snow in the northeast of the u.s. it's the second storm to hit the east coast in less than a week more than eight hundred thousand people are enjoying widespread electricity cuts some have been without power for almost
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a week as the headline sits inside story next so stay with us here on al-jazeera. as poverty and desperation. girls are being sold and given away in refugee camps one on one east investigates yet another dark side of the crisis at this time on al-jazeera. a very rare nerve agent that's what the u.k.'s interior minister says was used to poison a former russian spy and his daughter it follows a number of mysterious deaths in the u.k. of recent years of people linked to russia which flatly denies any involvement so what are the implications of this latest attack this is inside story.
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hello welcome to the program i'm adrian for the good and the poisoning of former russian intelligence officer script al and his daughter yulia follows several mysterious deaths of russians in britain many of them had been living in the u.k. and it made allegations against russian president vladimir putin or his country's security services those allegations often included state involvement in political assassinations killings of civilians in bombings and running multi million dollar corruption rackets alexander litvinenko a former russian intelligence officer who later worked with m i six in the u.k. died in november two thousand and six just weeks after drinking tea that was poisoned with radioactive polonium a pretty public inquiry found that he was killed by two russian agents probably with the approval of president putin russian businessman alexander pena polygyny died in twenty twelve after collapsing while jogging near his home in sorry his death was at first attributed to natural causes but an autopsy later found traces
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of poison in his stomach he'd been investigating a huge money laundering scheme connected to russian officials and brought a special. skee a former russian billionaire and vocal critic of president putin was found dead in his home near london in twenty thirteen police could not determine if he'd committed suicide or was murdered or the poisoning of the russian father and daughter comes at a time when russian relations with the u.k. or the west are at their worst level since the end of the cold war in a moment we'll hear from our guests but before we do let's find out what's being said about this case in russia our moscow correspondent rory chalons reports. while the line from both the kremlin and the russian ministry of foreign affairs is that this is all an anti russian media campaign that they have very little information london has not actually approached them yet for any assistance in the matter the inevitable comparisons with the poisoning to death of former spy alexander
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litvinenko in london in two thousand and six well those of only been strengthened by comments made by one of the men wanted by u.k. authorities for murder now on three lugovoy were never extradited to face any charges in britain in fact he was made a member of parliament here in russia he says that britain's suffer from phobias and watches of russian state t.v. have also noticed a kind of nod nod wink wink attitude to the coverage with the suggestion being that being a traitor is one of the most dangerous things you can be and perhaps these people shouldn't move to the u.k. clearly something is going wrong there because there have been so many strange cases recently with grave outcomes and if this was a state hit that's of course exactly the kind of message that would be intended don't be a traitor it can be fatal. all right let's bring in our guests for today's program from london we're joined by
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bill browder c.e.o. and co-founder of hermitage capital management from brussels and a national and former m i five intelligence officer and also in london samuel green director of the russia institute at king's college london thank you all for being with us today's inside story bill let's start with you what's your take on the script poisoning who might be responsible how was it done what was the motive well let's look at the facts as we know them so far we have the mr scrip always an enemy of russia he was considered to be a traitor by putin after becoming a double agent to the u.k. he he has been felled along with his in his thirty three year old daughter with a poison the poison has been determined to be some type of chemical weapon a nerve agent. so what does what what what can we conclude from this we can conclude that that an enemy of russia has been has been poisoned with a nerve agent that only a state could get his hands on and therefore i would conclude on the basis of this
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information that the the highest likelihood candidate for having done this is the russian federation and lattimer putin sort of i'm saying that the highest probability theory is that vladimir putin is behind this. bill you say the highest the highest probability that it is the putin is behind this could there be any any other way of looking at it we've got a presidential election coming up in days in russia could another state actor or perhaps a crime organization who want to cause trouble for putin have been behind this i'm thinking if you took that state actors ukraine for instance. well so for first of all let's let's talk about the the second theory that somehow it's a mafia hit mafia doesn't have have have access to chemical weapons the mafia also the russian mafia would be absolutely terrified to do anything that would make putin unhappy because he's head of that mafia organization and as far as ukraine
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goes i've never heard such a nonsense in my life ukraine wouldn't do something like this this is a there's a basically three countries that could do this they it was north korea who has chemical weapons and have used them it's syria with assad that has chemical weapons and uses them and russia that has chemical weapons and used them those are the three countries now this man wasn't an enemy to north korea he was an enemy to syria he's an enemy to russia and. he was living quite openly in the u.k. would he have been protected by the security services in the u.k. or have had any contact with them. i'm sure as he was a valued m i six assets for over ten years that he would have had contact there was some certainly someone still looking after him keeping a view of this case however i think we need to get the terminology right here one he was not a double agent he was a british agent who betrayed russia because he worked for m i six and he was paid
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to do that over a decade he was caught by the russian state in two thousand and six and he was tried and he was convicted and then sentenced to thirteen years in prison the only reason he was that back in the u.k. is because he was part of a spy swap in two thousand and ten i don't remember the. the sleeper organization allegedly that was discovered in the usa including out of chapman and they were swapped back to russia in return for western spies and the skipper was one of them so he was pardoned by russia and he was allowed to go free which would indicate that they didn't feel that he could do any harm to the russian state once he'd been handed over to the u.k. also in the spy swaps m i six as his handlers would have spent weeks in him as much they could and then they would give him a pension and allowed him to live freely in the u.k. which is precisely what we saw so in terms of the russian state seeing him as an enemy of it would seem is a traitor sure but you know a traitor that could do no more harm so i think it rather than look at his ancient
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history what the intelligence agencies in the u.k. now and the police in the u.k. now reading is looking at his most recent history over the last eight years that he living in the u.k. what he's been working on who he's been working with who his contacts are because from that they're probably find. evidence or at least information about who might occurred at this attack at a very sensitive time in our diplomatic relations with russia that there are media reports which which the russian embassy in the u.k. flatly denies that he was having monthly meetings at the russian embassy there are other media reports that have become friendly with the british security consultant who worked for christopher steele before and i said. agent behind the trump dossier of the makes alleged connections between presidential candidate and businessman trumpets the was then a and and russia and allegations of collusion could that be anything to do with it was was he really involved in something quite murky. it's difficult to tell i mean certainly i oversaw the report in the times
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a couple of days ago that suggested that he might have been one of the sources used by christopher steele in please get the what is now called the dirty dossier and trump said that would bring in other players potentially either state level or rogue state level who might have an interest in the outcome of this this man and his his life so i think you know at this point immediately start jumping up and down and say i must be rushed or it must be russia i think is ingenuous at best and actually further dangerous at quite a sensitive time in diplomatic relationships at worst samuel green why was cripple targeted by whom. well i mean i think that the reality is we don't know the strength of the system that we have here in the u.k. it's rule of law based system right so to reading we do need to let this system come up through an investigative process with. with information that clearly we don't have and what what what bill described at the outset does seem to point in
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a certain direction and really almost everybody obviously has looked at this as has come to the what seems at the moment to be the logical conclusion that that russia is the most likely candidate and yet we don't actually have any evidence that's taking us in that direction that would ever stand up and in a court of law to say nothing of sort of the court of public opinion and diplomatic back and forth right so we will learn things. as we go through that we don't know mrs gribble unlike some people of the three and go before him already has has kept his head down relatively speaking at least and so it is difficult to really have anything other than that and for the wild speculation about what might have put him in the crosshairs at this particular moment i would try not to speculate too much then but ok what do you make of the timing of this of this incident i mean here we
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are just just days away now from the russian presidential election which was about to be a putin is all but certain to win. well and i think only for that reason i don't buy the argument that has cropped up in some places that this was done in order to to help shore up his electoral chances i mean the reality is as you said he was not going to have any difficulty in that race on the eighteenth of march he has of course built his campaign all round as a central theme a threat and confrontation with the west the idea that given that russia for all intents and purposes is at war with the west on various fronts that this is not the time to the change of leadership but that message has been driven home for the quickly and really does not require something like this to. to reinforce it i am not sure you know that when you look at this sort of thing if you're going to tackle somebody in a foreign country i don't know that there is ever a better or worse time. to do it so i wouldn't probably read too much into the
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timing question bill browder to what extent does the fact that no one has has been apprehended i mean i know there are suspects and extradition requests that have been refused but no one's been apprehended for the live in. what extent is that given those who would wish to do away with political opponents the confidence to do so on british soil. well i think it's crucial so you had a a a dramatic and unbelievable situation in two thousand and six alexander litvinenko who was a british citizen at the time was killed by russia using nuclear materials which was proven at by a high court judge in a public inquiry and what were the and what was the consequence what did britain do to russia nothing absolutely nothing and so if you're vladimir putin and you're a guy who orders the liquidation and hit of enemies traitors and other people in
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your own country and in the west and you find a western country great britain that does absolutely nothing when you do a nuclear assassination the message to you is you can do whatever you want and that's not the only hit that vladimir putin and the f.s.b. have done in the u.k. there's been a number of other deaths including the death of alexander polygyny who is a a russian whistleblower loop blew the whistle on a massive f.s.b. financial scam and he dropped dead at the age of forty four in front of his house in weybridge surrey the police refused even investigated as a murder and so from from my perspective and from for the perspective of lattimer putin. this is a country where. assassinations can be carried out without any consequence and that i believe was a huge policy failure which has led to the situation we're in right now with mr script on his daughter hold hang on for dear life in a sold for
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a hospital bill you've become an enemy of law to be a person you're not russian of and you've received death threats does what happened in salzburg a few days ago give you pause for thought are you safe in britain. i don't believe in safe in britain at all if you look at this situation as as i said they can go around the russian government and go around killing with impunity well the main thing that gives me pause going forward is not the russians actions we know what they're capable of what gives me pause is what the british response is going to be if the british government doesn't respond forcefully and decisively in a way that really creates consequences for the putin regime after this assassination attempt then it's not safe for anybody who has anything bad to say about russia to live in the u.k. or to go into the politics of all of this in just a moment but any first of all that this talk about the the investigation obviously there's a lot that we the public will will not be privy to in fact we probably never know
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but what is actually going on right now in terms of the of the investigation into this incident. well if i were sitting behind a desk in my five now i think i'd be trying to coordinate three prongs investigation the first one is the people on the street you know the call is going out to anyone who is in the city center at that time and they might think they know nothing but to give that statement to the police and also the police need to go through all the c.c.t.v. the other one of course and you know hats off to the u.k. agencies that they discovered what the substance was so quickly because that is core evidence is to try and narrow it down to precisely what type of nerve agent it was because that will give an indication about what sort of the birch trees around the world might be producing that specific nerve agent and how it might be acquired either legitimately or over the top web but the key thing as well is to get a warrant and go through his computers his phone calls his phone records everything
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which i presume they've already done because they are in his house at the moment to try and work out exactly what he's been involved in of the last eight years because as i said he was a busted flush when it came to intelligence if he'd been handed over voluntarily by the russians pardoned by the russians he was taken into the u.k. and questioned by m i six there is nothing really intelligence wise that can be taken or gained by either side so suggest to me very very strongly that this attack is something to do with what he might have been working on over the last eight years of also like to. to to argue against the idea that this is equivalent in the case because this guy had been pardoned by the russians he was allowed to come to the u.k. has given safe haven and a pension by my six he was not a threat let me and it was a very different case because we had someone who has fled to the u.k. for protection he was an active distant and active whistleblower and an active at the time of this death consultant for m i six so you've been seen as much more of
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an enemy of the state than someone who's been pardoned by the state and allowed to leave that state so yes i can understand the police response been very rapid. it's because they you know soon as you fly got the name in the history would have sent up a red flag of course they would respond in the same way as they might have done the case they would be more read about it to protect public safety but the equivalent stops there bill joy to come back on that but you did you can't compare the script i don't know if you're a christian i think. well i think that that's an extremely narrow and unhelpful analysis that what everybody has to understand about vladimir putin is that he is trying to keep in line many many hundreds of thousands of security service officials intelligence officers army people and none of them are motivated by ideology this is not a communist regime it's not a religious regime it's effectively a click talk receive regime and so his only way of motivating people is through money is through is through giving people the opportunity to steal money to shake
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people down to extort people and that's how people in his government have. kept people loyal but the money is running out while president and sanctions are biting there's not as much money to go around anymore and so he's got to he's got to deal with people who no longer have have the main motivation to stay loyal and in that situation the main tool that he has to keep them loyal is absolute fear and the way to create absolute fear is to take a traitor like mr script all and say we're going to kill this traitor and not only we go kill him we're going to kill his family members and we're going to kill them in the most horrible public way and if anyone else decides they want to step out of line they're going to be killed in the same horrible way as well that is the way he creates loyalty his audience is not anybody else other than his own security services and that's the probably the main motivation for what this happened here today and to say that mr scripture was working on something and i have to jump in here e-mailer certainly has yet to go ahead any i have to jump in here bill sorry
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this is very insulting to all the people who work in intelligence agencies and other security forces around the world when did you work in a village is a family five and i said you either have any years ago in the ninety's and twenty twenty five years ago when i was going to make a point when he worked there yeah yeah lebanon and let me make a point then how is the timing relevant. so i joined up not for the pay not for the money. i joined because i actually had a sense of wanting to do something that was worthwhile something to help for text my fellow citizens and this was at the height of the ira bombing campaign in london and i think you know you do a great disservice bill you've got incredibly cynical view that everything is always about money it's not in my spin in the case it's critical because of course he did get i know a lot of e-mails but i know a lot about the but maybe even go into maybe because i know how they've been dealing with money i know exactly what the putin regime is up to because i'm engaged with them in a full on fight about them stealing money about vladimir putin being involved in
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a major hundred million it's multi hundred million dollar felt and so i know exactly what's going on as of today you're still at twenty five years ago in your own experience ok and he just quit quickly got to get a real talk twenty years ago and actually i'm quite aware i'm quite aware bill that you have been banned from the russia of the russian federation so for decades because you are one of the chicago economists you went into assets to the country and the band apparently when i was manager exposing corruption in russia if you don't really know about my story. i've been convicted by a russian i do not know if i was raising money for stealing two hundred thirty million dollars ok. that's this move the discussion august time and time is is is tight here. samuel green you case defense minister says that russia is becoming ever greater threat russia's being assertive russia is being aggressive he said well being careful not to blame russia for that for the scripts act we have to change the way in which we deal with it because we can't be pushed around by
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another nation what do you make of that. well of that i think we have to look at that in the round the reality is that defense spending in this country has been cut rather dramatically in recent years and it doesn't look to improve and and so to a certain extent he's doing what defense ministers do in terms of of lobbying for. a budget and certainly there are arguments to be made and important arguments to be made about. you know what russia has done particularly in the european space in crane you know obviously we've seen the rhetoric out of moscow recently with new missile systems and things like that so there are responses there is a degree of hyperbole to it when we hear things about you know the prospect of shutting down cyber networks energy systems and transport systems and other vital infrastructure in in the u.k. but what this all speaks to is on the one hand the recognition of russia's
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capabilities which should not be surprising to anybody but also really no trust whatsoever in russia's intentions right from a governmental standpoint from a societal sam partly standpoint of of the media in this country right it is very easy to come to just have immediate assumptions and conclusions about. russia's alleged role in this case and in other cases like it. simply because the track record that we've seen from russia and the state of the relationship is such that that it really is very little doubt in people's minds ok having said that the response to this right is not likely to be a military response a defense response and it's not likely to be if it's going to be effective and he kind of response that the u.k. can take on its own it's going to require allies ok bill if a freshman involved in this case is confirmed by british authorities. anglo russian
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really. are already pretty strained at the moment given the britain's already imposed sanctions of expelled diplomats what could the u.k. do to punish russia well this is where there's a big opportunity one of the things which the u.k. has a huge leverage in one area which is that the russian government officials and kremlin connected oligarchy come to london buy properties in large sizes all over the most expensive districts of london and they value those properties they covet those properties and the one thing that can be done and is now possible to do based on the law is for the u.k. government to seize those properties and believe me the government doesn't care or the russian government doesn't care about a few diplomats being expelled they don't care about an on on exercisable extradition of their officials what they care about is if if their house on belgrave square gets confiscated and that's what the government should do and if
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they do that it will go immediately right up to putin and putin will understand that this is a place where you can't mess with anymore because there's real consequences at the moment putin doesn't think there's any consequences and in countries where there are consequences he doesn't do this type of thing and so so i'm recommending and i know many other members of parliament are recommending that that the magnitsky act should be imposed aggressively in response to this occasion. under fred we're out of time the news waits for no one we've got to wrap it up many thanks indeed to all of you bill browder and the national and samuel green and thank you for watching don't forget you can see the program any time just by going to the website at al-jazeera dot com for the discussion join us at our facebook page on facebook dot com forward slash a.j. inside story or join the conversation on twitter our handle at a.j. inside story from adrian finnegan and the whole team here and thanks for watching we'll see you again on.
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that's what's up with all the capital which makes a parade of. one nature has transformed into a commodity big business takes in your interests by wells gives protecting wild scripts it's a phenomenal opportunity to be able to use a business model to achieve sustainability of nature but at what risk banks of course don't do that because they have the heart protection of nature they do that because they see a business that pricing the planet at this time on al-jazeera. when we managed the financial system between one nine hundred forty five and one nine hundred seventy one there was not a single financial crisis anywhere in the world and then in one thousand seven hundred the bank has lobbied and they said no no no we don't need controls you know the market will discipline us banks love to make loans to sovereigns why because
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behind the sovereign a millions of taxpayers we can see in reaction to the liberalization finds just as we saw in the one nine hundred twenty s. and it's going to be updating to already is ugly in many parts of the world where people are saying if my government went look after my interest then i would look for a strong back if he's a fascist i don't care if you promises to secure the stability of my life and my people i will vote for him i think that's where we're heading and i don't think our leaders have the vision to understand that's the threat that we face. an act of youthful defiance we've ruled your turn next doctor also in the school will be arrested me at home at four in the morning the electric shock treatment was the worse that triggered a revolution. the arrest of those children sparked it all of which became a battle with als and that was the beginning of the armed struggle in syria. the
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boy who started the syrian war at this time on al-jazeera just is in the same. sun journalists decided to sacrifice their integrity for out in the media opinion the listening post at this time on al-jazeera. after months of bitter exchanges the u.s. president except to meet the north korean leader for talks. on sammy's a dime this is al jazeera live from dol so coming up.

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