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tv   Inside Story 2020 Ep 204  Al Jazeera  July 22, 2020 8:32pm-9:00pm +03

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thought has ruled a deal with the u.s. that manages the flow of refugees as unconstitutional the agreement bans people entering the country at official border crossings and from requesting asylum because it deems both nations to be safe however the canadian court now says refugees are unsafe in the u.s. because of the risks of imprisonment. turkey and russia have agreed to work together towards a lasting cease fire in libya turkey supports the u.n. recognize government in tripoli while russia banks its rival the ward cleaver hafter who's based in the east delegations from turkey and russia met in ankara with more talks planned in moscow you can follow those stories of course on our website at al-jazeera dot com i'm back with the al-jazeera news hour in 30 minutes but next it's inside story do stay with us.
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under the long shadow of russia britain's government is accused of ignoring moscow's attempts to undermine its security and the most who say so how should the u.k. respond to these threats this is inside story. hello and welcome to the program on iran come on the u.k. is considering tighter security laws after an intelligence report on russian interference a parliamentary committee says no one in government wanted to know about moscow's attempts to interfere in the 2014 scottish independence referendum and the briggs's
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vote 2 years later prime minister boris johnson has rejected the assessment while the kremlin called it a russo phobia but the allegations are raising questions about the extent of russian influence on british society we'll bring in our guests in a moment but 1st this report from sunny again in london in the shadows of britain's democratic process and its economy the threat of interference from russia. russia whose is an all encompassing security threat which is fueled by pot an oil about west and a desire to be seen as a great. how is it malicious cyber activity in order to do shouted self aggressively for example by attempting to interfere in other country's elections by pre-positioning itself in other countries critical national infrastructure of. the warning signs whether the scottish independence referendum in 2014 the 1st post
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soviet interference in a western democratic election but it raised little curiosity from the government this long awaited report paints a picture of a political system rife with complacency when it came to the issue of russian attempts at interference. britain's democratic processes were at stake as was national security so the question remains why did governments take so long to tackle them there is a lot of russians with very close links to. putin who are now very well integrated into business political and social see what is referred to as lending london ground yet few if any questions are rehashed regarding the problems of considerable wealth. it was the government's failure to look at a possible russian meddling in the 2016 breck's referendum that sparks the investigation by m.p.'s no evidence of interference has been found but the lack of
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curiosity to examine that raised alarm in the report after the break said vote it was the turn of the us in the 2016 presidential election u.s. intelligence agencies concluded that russia had been behind cyber attacks on the democratic party to help the eventual winner donald trump it was a wake up call that turned into an uproar after the attempted murder of 4 my double agent said on british soil with a soviet developed nerve agent russia denied it was to blame but it plunged u.k. russian relations to a low not seen since the cold war but it is the undermining of british institutions that is at the heart of this storm the u.k. will have to overhaul its previous approach if it is to have a chance of tackling this new normal. al-jazeera london. let's bring in our panel in london we have andrew fox all he's the director of the
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russia and eurasia studies center at the henry jackson society in moscow dimitri babich a political analyst at the news media company of 70 and in washington d.c. we have nina yank of its she's a disinfo mason fellow at the wilsons. and author of the book how to lose the information war russia fake news and the future of conflict i want to welcome you all to the show let's begin in london with andrew folks all i read the report almost every single paragraph is quite damning about the british government and its complacency and just simple lack of interest when it came to tackling the russian threat they seemingly were outmaneuvered outgunned and outplayed almost all the time is this a threat that the british government simply didn't think was serious. we're taught to disagree really with what you just said the successive british government and i think that's an important point and more worth making early successive british
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governments have demonstrated short sightedness and naivety seemingly where the threat of the challenge posed by put in russia is concerned particularly as it relates to the u.k. and i think again that's a point worth making is that this is a threat that this rather the report relate to the threat posed by russia to the united kingdom and the time period that the report concerns itself with 2014 onward . this is of course itself 8 years the best part of a decade after the murder of alexander litvinenko it's 6 years after russia's illegal war with georgia and its occupation since then of a part of that is that you. tell that the number of years after russia's conduct in chechnya its persecution of mikhail khodorkovsky undismayed movement of the u.k.'s
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oil company as a result of which a number of profile russian individuals moved to the united kingdom and sought political asylum here so really the true nature of the russian regime ought to have been obvious to london if no other western capital. in 2040 and yet the report makes clear successive british governments i think as i say and you said earlier demonstrated shortsightedness naivety where the threat posed by russia is concerned it is it is staggering and as you say sort of concern drips almost from from every page of the of the report but andrew let's be absolutely honest here one of the things that the report doesn't make clear all of the writing around the report makes clear is that perhaps successive conservative governments were far too close to key russian players and they simply weren't investigating for that reason . yes i mean i would just. broaden
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out your comment it you know there's a focus obviously on one can serve successive conservative governments here but the labor governments of tony blair and gordon brown have their their own issues with with the kremlin and with russia but successive conservative governments as you said. have their issues with with russian money and i think it's worthwhile you know just almost taking a step back and looking at this report came into being so you know it's 5 years now since the intelligence and security committee originally announced that it wanted to conduct an inquiry into russian interference in the united kingdom is 2 years since that inquiry began after you know foot dragging by both david cameron and to reason may when they were prime ministers it's now it's 18 months since the report the result rather from that inquiry was sent to number 10 and 9 months since boris johnson as he then became prime minister attempted to sit on it so there's
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a there's a much broader context to this issue. than simply the report itself now the report doesn't contain any smoking guns of the sort that i think a lot of people were hoping for the report doesn't concern itself or rather the reductive version of the report doesn't concern itself with details about prominent russians giving money for example to u.k. political parties where you put your u.k. political movements all the closeness of proximity of u.k. political figures to prominent russian individuals. so it doesn't deal with the broader context that i think a lot of people were hoping for but it doesn't need to because the what we know about russia the threat that russia poses and the nature of the threat is in itself damning enough and in spite of that in spite of that successive governments did very little to combat it. dimitri in moscow the russians seem to playing this down
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they calling it russo phobia they're saying that this is simply stereotyping that the russians had nothing to do with interference in u.k. politics at all here is a massive report that suggests that they did what's what's the thinking behind that . i don't know why you are saying that because i also read the report and i think the report is a scandal because let me quote you what they just wrote about the so-called russian interference in their breakfast referendum i'm called in the region evidence to provide their toss it be it to suggest that her majesty's government had not seen or sort evidence or successful interference in u.k. democratic process or a new t.v. that has had a material impact on any election for example on influencing the elections results so what are we talking about the report does not provide any facts any evidence or russia's involvement in the referendum in 2016 or in the squad you shift around
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them of 2014 let me tell you honestly it no one in russia almost no one knows about the problem of squash nationalism or about any you know contradictions between the english and the courts it's not a matter that is of concern to russians so i think that it is just preposterous to say that you know as andrew just said we don't need facts what we know about russia easy enough this is not legal language this is not war theory of the british parliament and also conclusions that this may report makes already dangerous for british society because in fact the report suggests that the british special services and not just the government departments not just the electoral commission should be knowledge supervising and protecting the british election this is really dangerous and the report says that there is always concern
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about special services protecting elections or vote in anywhere and this is exactly the case in britain let's bring in nina young because it's in washington d.c. i see you you say can you head there and some of the comments dimitri beveridge made in moscow. do you believe that this that russia has a case to answer for. listen just because an investigation wasn't conducted in the united kingdom does not mean that there is not evidence of russian interference not only in the united kingdom but across central and eastern europe for the past decade plus and here in the united states we know for instance thanks to the advertisements released by house democrats in may of 2018 relating to the us election that some of those advertisements purchased by the internet research agency headed up by all of our privilege and then in russia were targeting the united kingdom with anti immigration messages before the brags that referendum there is open source evidence of this interference and the fact that mr bobbitt is
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suggesting that just because an investigation did not happen which you know the report is damning in its conclusions regarding that that doesn't mean there is an evidence for this long term interference you know i've looked at this interference across again central eastern europe in a stone in 2007 in georgia in 2008 in poland in czech republic and certainly in ukraine russia uses this information and influence as a political tool this is a well established fact and the fact that mr bobbitt who has written i should add for r.t. of sputnik before agents of russian propaganda is trying to push this narrative on a say is not surprising to me or i may just of american propaganda to me as a lawyer work something as well and all of it all ok another please i'm looking forward to your response. yeah yeah i'm ready to answer well if you are talking about the so-called russian interference in british or american elections
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mueller commission has walked for 2 and a half years then merican media was full of fake reports about russia's involvement and what was the conclusion the mewing committee concluded that i'm quoting there was no collusion between mr trump's campaign and russia. in this case why is this report not based on any evidence you know the author so the reports say that we have not been provided with any evidence from the british special services that's very strange so what is this report based on if the bridge your special services does not provide fact as for cases of british or american. interference in 14 elections there are plenty of them the united states openly acknowledges and prided itself on interfering in boris yeltsin's election in 1906
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in russia we all remember you know andrew has cited russia's operations in ukraine well it's 17 years since the u.k. and the united states invaded illegally invaded iraq based on fake evidence as for the creation which this report takes for granted for example the soulsby affair it's very strange that 4 months after petro from bashir of left the u.k. the vile that they were supposed to bring to to saulsbury poisoned and killed one person and badly poisoned another person in a different city in the inside the u.k. how could it happen 4 months after they left the u.k. this is really. really something that should have given some food for thought for this commission but unfortunately these facts are not examined that are not taken
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for serious information and we just report the same thing all the time russia interferes russia gets involved russia destroys russia it's called a whore style contrie and this report well this is a very aggressive move i cannot imagine all of parliament call in britain and the grace of or horse country well of course in the united states hostile country despite all their actions against us so you can see from this report who is really aggressive and then under the thumb see you in just a 2nd it's just a little treat to be here we are in no time nor do i get intimate from a legal point of view i want to get everything i want i will just 10 seconds ok just 10 seconds in this report this report calls to investigate every of on connected to putin and some call it suggest that any people connected to the kind of russian state even if they're involved in charity activities in the u.k.
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are somehow suspect you magine what would happen if the russian parliament areas or the russian press wrote that anyone connected to boris johnson should be suspect that's absolutely wrong from a legal point of view and to say that boris johnson or the conservative governments were pro russian is a more critical of logic because boris johnson has been openly hostile to russia he called for demonstrations near the russian embassy where the souls very airfare occurred there were 2 things one fact he said i want you to change each we will we will. going to come back to you in just a 2nd but in. in london perhaps the bigger question here is not the country's interest in other countries it says i mean let's face it the americans and the brits one of the most famous cases the 53 coup in iran backed by the cia and the british you know this does happen it just palm postle of international. affairs. this is about britain's own failures within its own security establishment
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with its own government itself and not taking this seriously i mean it's not about the russians the russians are going to interfere as do the british says that the americans in other people's affairs this is about a failure on the british front surely. i mean 1st of all i would i would welcome the opportunity to respond to what dmitri said but i mean i just don't see that it's it's really worth our time i would reject the moral equivalence that he's attempting to draw between what the you can the u.s. do more of what russia does and i'll leave it at that i think you're right however in that in that much of the focus of much of the the the analysis of that be done of the reporters who was released yesterday has focused on russia where it actually to my mind the greatest story actually is about the united kingdom and how successive u.k. governments failed in their basic. right all role to protect u.k. citizens by intentionally or unintentionally wittingly or unwittingly by omission
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all on purpose failed to take seriously the threat posed by a hostile state whether that's russia or anybody else to democratic processes and that's the that's the key thing that comes out of this to my mind. the report you know beyond the blunt language use the report does betray 8 clear narrative that russia has attempted to undertake. operations its attempted to penetrate our institutions and it intent be joined to mine processes and it's quite clear about that the report however is also clear that successive governments basically did nothing about this but not only that they purposely did nothing about this dimitri mr babich was was quite right he said you know that is a scandal that the reports say is that no successful evidence had been forthcoming because of open to or due to russian interference in the 2016 referendum oh i met
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that point you know not with any particular tableau or put or other persuasion. around brick said but the plot the biggest scandal is that that this that the government sought not to ask that question. you know the key point governments much are about new successful evidence of russian interference the real question is whether there's any evidence successful or otherwise of russian interference the quest the report tomorrow mind because its scope number of other things begs more questions and it provided answers will. say in washington d.c. surely this is just a case of chickens coming home to roost i mean the americans have interfered in other people's affairs for a very long time and now the russians are doing it and they seemingly seem to be very good at it you're putting your you know arms up in the air and saying this isn't for. like drew i really reject the moral equivalence of those statements of course there are covert efforts of interference that every nation does what
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we're talking about here what russia has done and become very successful at is efforts of overt interference in the civilian sphere they are posing as americans as brits in order to influence our democratic discourse in order to turn us against one another that is not the sort of value that the united states or great britain stands for we stand for openness and transparency and in those over activities that is not something we would ever seek to do and to respond to mr babbage his point about the russian federation you know not calling out the image of the united states or or great britain there is an undesirable foreign organizations law in russian federation that calls out specifically organizations seeking to do research and support democratic activists around the country that are you know headquartered here in america in the in the u.k. i would say that's a fairly aggressive action not to mention the aggressive military actions that russia has taken and you know this is the informational war is only part of
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russia's foreign policy this costs lives in countries like ukraine and georgia and i think we would be foolhardy to ignore that and now i do agree with drew in the case that you know the u.k. government needs to do more it's very interesting for me in the report to read you know a lot of tory comments about the united states response because our intelligence community has called these efforts out of course some of this is being undermined by rhetoric that's coming from politicians from the white house in particular what we all need to do and this is where i really agree with the report is the west needs to band together and cooperate with regards to its countering not only of dissent from asian coming from russia or adversarial nations like china we need to call out this information no matter its vector whether it is coming from our domestic politicians or our foreign vectors as well because all. timidly it is a threat to democracy and participation in the democratic process this information
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is a very good word and now very quickly before we run our time i do want to ask you all of this if you can try and keep your answers short let's begin with andrew andrew disinformation it's being sent via social media by a social media platforms facebook. twitter these things aren't policing themselves this is a big problem for governments very quickly do you think that social media has a role and a responsibility here as well. it certainly does and in that respect i agree with nina. more than i better place to answer this question given that you've just written a book on this very topic but this goes back to a point that i just made an awful lot of the conclusions that result from the report actually relate to what the west and the u.k. can do to better protect itself then they're not to relate to what russia is doing their conclusions to my mind are in a sense too little and scandalously too late dmitri just very very quickly because
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we are running out of time by do want you to say is social media a concern for you when it comes to disintegration both in russia and in other parts of the world. very quickly just 3 facts i think social media is very important that it should be free period or in this information i think the biggest case of it information was publications in the western press about weapons of mass destruction in iraq in iraq before the invasion of 2003 fact on ideas out of organization that described well the united states at the top of the war on foreign agents 60 years earlier than russia and then the united states made scandals about the war which was quite a bit from the american legislation in russia and 3rd the more scandalous the end of all these reports parliamentary report in britain is called we have not been provided with a new post referendum assessments or russian attempts at interference this is a quote from the report which means that the awards or the put into the 300 how to
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get your name from there is no sooner was he saying it was written on our side that same question social media has a responsibility here. absolutely social media companies have a responsibility at they have been doing too little too late to the vectors by which just information travels faster and farther are provided through social media but not only that social media allows bad actors foreign or domestic to target the very audiences that are going to be most vulnerable to the narratives that they're trying to peddle and that's what's most dangerous about them the business model so we absolutely need some regulation i am not you know calling for governments or the social media the companies themselves to play whack a troll or act as censors but we do need transparency and oversight of this new technology because it is causing real world harm a fascinating discussion and i let me thank all our guests 100 folks all new young cadets and dimitri babich in thank you to you for watching you can see the program again any time by visiting the web sites out there at dot com and for further
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discussion go to our facebook page that's facebook dot com forward slash a.j. inside story and you can also join the conversation on twitter we are a.j. inside story for me among con and the entire team here and oh i found out.
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image can change the way we see the world it can spark mass action or serve the interests of the powerful it can obscure truth forged narratives and rewrite them the listening post gives you the food picture. be the hero the world needs.
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washing. this is al-jazeera. i. mean you're watching the al-jazeera news our line from our headquarters here in doha coming up in the next 60 minutes spying claims that under mysterious fire china is ordered to shut its consular office in the u.s. city of houston as the diplomatic war intensifies.

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