tv BBC World News America PBS October 8, 2012 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT
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his next term? welcome to our viewers on public television in america and around the globe. a team has uncovered evidence which could prove that syrian rebels are getting military assistance from the gulf region. rebel fighter base in aleppo, our journalist found weapons creates a trust to saudi arabia. our correspondent and cameramen filed this report on the battle for aleppo. thousands of years of history have marched through the streets. an ancient city that has been
fought over many times before. today, aleppo is at war again. the further you edge into the old city, the sound and fury of battle grows. those who stayed behind must cheat death every day. a simple sign reads, do not cross, sniper to your left. seven or eight people were killed to last week, he says. the rebels have moved into the path of the old city. activist took us there. a world heritage site where the scars of battle run deep and the devastation is mounting. aleppo is a city under siege. the fighting is now street by street, house by house.
the fighters have been calling for outside help for many months. for the first time, a strong indication they're getting it. the ukrainian weapons firms made the box and its contents for the royal saudi army. how would ended up in the roiled -- in a rebel base in aleppo is not clear. interests, both sides get help from abroad in a proxy war that threatens a fragile region. the atmosphere on the front line is incredibly tense and almost eerily quiet. you can hear the sounds of battle still going on and the scars of this intense fighting are obvious everywhere. snipers have been shooting into this position. the mirror, the rebels have been using to get a sense of what is
going on. you can see what the government response has ben, massive firepower to crush the rebellion. the rebels and residents have no answer to a barrage of artillery that does not discriminate between the fighter and civilian. the fighters tried to move on seen towards loyalists forces. despite its overwhelming strength come the government forces have made few inroads. we were shown one of their check points, just 200 meters away. they may be fighting for the future of syria, but both sides are struggling over small bits of turf. the empty streets are a testament to the thousands to have fled. some say they have nowhere to go, nowhere is safe. he has lost his wife and six
children, all of them were killed when a rocket landed on his house. >> to live is to die. bashar al-assad is a daunting task. you will die wherever you go. they say foreign aid is being provided, but we see nothing. just let us die and get it over with. >> aleppo has become the defining battle in this civil war. neither side can afford to lose, but in truth, neither is winning. what does seem to be happening is the slow, painful death of syria. >> aiding the rebels in syria was one of many issues which mitt romney touchdown during a foreign policy speech in virginia today. charging the obama administration is sitting on the sidelines, he did not offer
specifics, but laid out this policy. >> in syria, i will work with our partners to organize those members of the opposition who share our values. they obtained the arms they need to defeat the tanks and helicopters and fighter jets. >> mitt romney in virginia today. for more on what he had to say and how foreign policy is playing his campaign, i am joined by our foreign policy correspondent. thank you for coming in. how would president romney differ from president obama? >> i cannot tell how it would differ. he does say that he would go so far as to arm some of the rebels through our partners. the way the paragraph is carefully constructed come a gives the impression that he would arm the rebels. if you read it, it says it through our allies. that is what we are doing.
that is what we're doing to begin with. not very different. >> you were just in iran, what did you make of mitt romney's strong words on iran? >> he talks about how he would not lead iran did away with having a nuclear weapon. already, barack obama has imposed the harshest sanctions in history on iran. it is hard to imagine any other president being able to do that. george w. bush was not able to impose a similar level of sanctions. it took obama going out there and saying that he would meet with the iranians. that allowed him to form his coalition. i do not -- i really am waiting for mitt romney to lay out specifics on how you would be different than obama. >> how did he talk about what happened in benghazi and the death of the ambassador without
seeming to exploit it? >> he sort of said obama botched the response to benghazi. frankly, his first response was not the best response. he botched his first response in terms of coming out swinging, politicizing it to soon. there is a hesitancy for him to politicize it again. there is this window opening for mitt romney and he wants to take it. you can say the administration dropped the ball, they did not anticipate the terrorist attack, they left americans vulnerable. >> there is no mention to of president george bush. why is that legacy avoided? >> there is a real debate within the camp. there is a kind of -- you do not know where he stands. in some places, he has a former
bush advisers who are real and neocons. in others, they're much more moderate and really believed international institutions, will want to empower natural institutions. we have not seen where he comes down and we're not sure whether he is a neocon or a realist or aim moderates. he keeps giving these speeches, but he does not nail it down. we're trying to figure out him as he does. >> maybe we will find out more in net foreign policy debate. the about this campaign, u.s. policies towards china has been a point against -- between the candidates. congressional committees called for to chinese telecommunications companies to be banned from the american market. they pose a security threats
because they cannot be trusted to be free of chinese state interest. the companies denied the charges. >> congressional officials have been investigating the two huge chinese telecommunications companies for a year. now the house intelligence committee has alleged that they may be spying and not to be trusted. >> they see to expand in the united states, but as a result of our investigation, we did not have the competence these two companies can be trusted with infrastructure of such critical importance. >> the committee sounded convince the chinese state uses as cannot on the grand scale against america. >> we started looking at the new threats that has been prolific in the last few years from the chinese government when it comes to cyber as spinoffs, human as panache -- cyber and spinoffs,
human espionage. >> they are among the world's largest manufacturers of phone and tablets and a network infrastructure. it keeps the global network moving. these companies connections to the chinese state and military are not well understood. the intelligence committee has urged they'd be barred from buying or merging with american companies and that their products not be used in any u.s. government network. they maintain these concerns are just not legitimate. >> we are of business, we are profit driven. we're not gone to sacrifice $32 billion of business and our future success for any government. >> to do we trust to build our networks -- to do we trust to build their networks? anybody but the chinese, says the u.s. house intelligence
committee. these are the most direct warnings we have that of cyber spying by chinese companies. it is up to the obama administration to decide whether or not to act on them. >> a look at some of the day's other news. there is a warning that the government in afghanistan could collapse after the withdrawal of the western combat troops in 2014. i think tank based in brussels says president karzei's government is increasingly unpopular and plagued by corruption. nato says it disagrees. british and japanese scientists will share this year's nobel prize for medicine. they're working independently but theyre bottiotluvoonized the understanding of how mature cells can be reprogrammed to perform new functions. for years, he has been a thorn on the side of u.s. policy in latin america. he a good job as has been reelected for a fourth term as
president. -- to vote chavez has been reelected for a fourth term as president. he promises to continue this socialist revolution. >> this had been billed as a tight race, but in the end, the results came quickly after the final polling stations had closed. it gave mr. job as a clear 10- point lead. -- mr. chavez a clear 10-point lead. >> to those who are always trying to deny all the good things that happened in venezuela, invite them to dialogue, to debate, and to work together. >> his followers were jubilant. >> he has given free health care
systems, he has given houses. >> we have the best president in the world. the women love him and we're going forward and we are growing. >> just as the politics and venezuela is on the rise, others will be commiserating. opposition candidate standing for a coalition of parties conceded defeat. with its promises to maintain social programs but also encourage private business, he managed to mount a serious challenge for the presidency. in the end, it was not enough. mr. chavis was treated for cancer earlier this year and many will be watching the state of this help closely as he began another six-year term of office.
for now, his supporters are thinking only of celebrating. >> you are watching "bbc world news america." in the wake of anti-weapons protests, we speak of the forces driving the unrest. a rocket launched by a private company is on its way to the international space station with food, clothes, and equipment. one giant leap for business kind. left off of the space falcon rocket. >> this moment is a milestone for nasa. the launch of a new generation of spacecraft, which introduces the private sector to space exploration.
the company spacex is behind the mission. >> one minute and 10 seconds after liftoff. >> on board, carrying supplies of food, clothes, and equipment. it is not all about work. there is some chocolate ice cream for the residents, too. the move does come about partly because of drastic cuts in spaces's -- nasa's program. >> the sustainability of the future of their exploration program and this is a huge step. spacex has been impressive so far. >> dragon continues -- >> this was the first time a
privately owned craft docked at the international space station. >> it looks like we had a dragon by detail. -- by the tail. >> this is another step towards commercializing the space industry. that will thimission. of this mission. >> we have seen violence, anti- western protest throughout the muslim morals. sparked by an internet video. long before we all lived on line, 20 years ago, it was a bucook. the years he was forced to live in hiding. now he has written about his experiences in a new book.
he joins me earlier today. >> when you're writing "the satanic verses," did i ever occurred to you that it would cause a fence? >> they did not like any of my other books either. nobody is forcing people to read it. i was trying to write a serious book. yes, it is a skeptical or secularist view of the religion. the religion of the book is not called islam. it is very heavily fictionalized. >> have you ever regretted writing it? >> i have been asked this question once a week for 24 years. the answer will always be no. i think it is a good buck. -- good book.
people are finally being able to read it as a novel. young people, they are just coming to it fresh. some people love it, some people do not like it. >> you did not have an ordinary life. you were in hiding. you had an alias. what was your state of mind? >> very up and down. the first couple of years were very difficult. going back and looking at my journals at that time, which i have not looked at since then, it is quite obvious the person writing the journal's is very often in a state of the depression. it got easier, i felt, once i was able to begin to organize some kind of political resistance and develop a campaign with the help of a couple of human rights organizations and france to try to put pressure on european and
-- your pet -- european governments to put pressure on the iranians. >> in this book, the heroes seem to be york literary agents from both sides of the atlantic and the police protection officers. >> i got to know them. he lived in the house of people and get to know them very well. you get to know their families and the stories. the police have a very dark sense of humor. that did help in those days because they were always cracking jokes. >> when you look at the protest happening across the muslim world, this time in response to a video, what do you think can be done to lessen the tensions between islam and the west? >> everybody has to get used to the fact that in free societies, people are endlessly insulting each other. uc cortines every week which attack the pope -- uc cartoons
every week which attack the pope. that is how we have to be. democracy is an argument. people strongly disagree with each other and we have to accept it. >> we see the tensions, so what should our political leaders be doing? >> i am a novelist. >> you have had a lot of time to reflect. >> this freedom of speech, it was won against the catholic church, actually. most of the world that does not have it really wants it. go ask people in china if they want to have free speech. we have to defend it. the trouble with defending free speech is that you often defend garbage. free-speech is not just for people renting fine bucks. it is also for people making --
four people riding fine books. it is also for people making trashy videos. >> this painting can fetch tens of millions of dollars. yesterday, one of those campuses was defaced in london. the man has been arrested, but said he is not the van gogh. he said he increased the paintings of value. >> this is the 1958 painting. a fine exa his abstract art. defaced by a man who considers his actions to be neither illegal or destructive. he thinks he has increased the value of the work and has no regrets. >> i am very happy. i can have a good laugh. i am sad because people cannot
most of them are temporary or they are done with permission. this one was not. this one was quite destructive. >> the trouble facing places like this is they have an unwritten contract with the public which goes along the lines of undue security measures would the artwork. incidences such as the one that had just occurred early to put that principle under pressure and a gathering think twice about being so open with their art work. the late american artist to gain their work in 1969 is not alone in having a painting attacked. last year, the 17th century painting was sprayed with red paint. leave the work of art being placed behind glass. a move that would diminish the enjoyment for many. for now, that is not the intention. the focus is to repair the painting. they should be able to do, according to this restorer. >> there really knowledgeable. they got to depend really quickly. there is absolutely every hope that it will be cleanedthinks ts not belong. off and the painting will be back to how we used to be. for many, it is not an appropriate form of artistic and expression. but an act of vandalism.
>> that debate on vandalism versus freedom of expression will continue. that brings today's shows to a close. you can find constant updates on our website. check out our facebook page. thank you for watching. tunein tomorrow. >> make sense of international news at bbc.com/news. >> funding for this presentation was made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu, newman's own foundation, and union bank. >> at union bank, our