Correspondent is a Documentary programme.




The first edition Correspondent maps the trail of a woman on the run from Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Currently, somewhere in the world, an estimated 30 million people are on a journey with a smuggler as a guide. In a world where there are no visas for asylum-seekers, only a smuggler, it seems, can make their dreams come true.

Correspondent maps the trail of a woman on the run from Saddam Hussein's Iraq, taking viewers inside the smuggling network whose business it is to move her across the divide from Europe's poorest corner into the rich West.

Laila a middle class Iraqi mother of two, is stranded in Albania. Her journey has not gone according to plan and she is desperate to move on. Laila's goal is to be reunited with her British brother who will meet her in Italy as soon as the smugglers can deliver her. The crossing is a tantalisingly short speedboat trip away, but the date for her journey is unknown.

Laila began her journey with her husband, Omar, an officer in Saddam's army, by her side. Having refused to execute army deserters, he was forced to flee Iraq for Turkey to save his own life. Without enough money to satisfy the smugglers of Istanbul, Laila and the children travel on alone. Omar waits in Istanbul, desperate for news of his wife and sons.

Charting one woman's search for a home, the story spans two-and-a-half years and stretches from Baghdad to northern Europe as Laila travels by boat, truck, train and, exhaustingly, on foot, propelled forward at every stage by her determination to settle her young sons in a place of safety.

The third edition focuses on the Dalai Lama. In December 1999 a teenage monk and his companions fled from their monastery in Tibet and escaped to India. Like thousands who make this hazardous journey each year they risked their lives, both from capture by the Chinese and in crossing the high mountain passes of the Himalayas.

This particular journey, however, was special: the escapee was, in spite of only being 14 years old at the time, the most senior Lama still living in Tibet and the most important figure in Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama. Urgyen Trinley Dorje is known simply Lis the Karmapa and his unscheduled arrival in the former British hill station of Dharamshala in northern India delighted the exiled Tibetan community based there, but threw the fragile relationship between China and India into turmoil.

Reporter Carol Wightman discovers the significance of the Karmapa investigates how a teenager can have suds an impact on international affairs; and unravels some of the mysteries surrounding the escape of this "boy king".

In "The Final Battle of Yugoslavia", David Sells examines the chaos left in Serbia following Nato's recent bombing campaign and the West's failure to find a workable solution for the future governance of Kosovo. Correspondent discovers that the country is currently experiencing a dangerous power vacuum in which violence is spilling over the borders into Macedonia and Southern Serbia.

It is now Kosovo's Serbs who are being ethnically cleansed. They are only able to move around the province under military escort and have been the victims of horrific terrorist attacks, such as the bus bomb in February that killed seven. The thousands of Serbs who have fled their homes are terrified to return - precisely the effect desired by the extremists who planted the bomb.

Kosovo is still under United Nations control, run by an unelected colonial governor. All Kosovar Albanians demand independence for the province but would only grudgingly grant any power to the Serb minority population. While the West vacillates, organised crime and political extremism are thriving, causing major problems in neighbouring Macedonia and Southern Serbia.

Correspondent assesses the political environment in Kosovo that has nurtured these extremists. While the future of the province remains undecided, no one is prepared to invest capital in projects that would create real jobs. Furthermore, having won their civil war against the Serbs, thanks to Western intervention, the Albanian community have become increasingly aggressive. Elements from within the former Kosovo Liberation Army, the guerrillas backed by Nato two years ago, are now trying their luck over the border in Macedonia, fighting for equal rights for the Albanian community there.

The bitterly divided town of Mitrovica epitomises the current difficulties facing the Serb populace. The Serb minority live on the northern side of the river, the Albanians inhabit the southern side - kept apart by a bridge resembling Berlin's Checkpoint Charlie. The programme follows a party of Serbs as they make their way to church, based south of the river, escorted by a troop of heavily armed French infantrymen.

As David Sells reveals, the West's failures in Kosovo lie at the heart of the current violence in Macedonia. Unless they are addressed, the violence can only continue - with the potential of triggering another war in the region.

In "The Magic Bean" Increasing parts of Latin and South America are undergoing a truly revolutionary change in farming methods. It's a change that is providing a real alternative to GM for feeding the world's population and has terrific payoffs in terms of protecting against soil erosion, mitigating the effects of global warming and wider social benefits. And this agricultural seeming-panacea? Beans.

The mucuna bean has its origins in Eastern India where it's been widely used for its medicinal properties and was introduced to Guatemala via the United Fruit Company. Local farmers soon noticed that it kept their soils fertile and slowly, by word of mouth, small farmers passed the practice on until it had spread all over Latin America and down to Brazil. In contrast, the farming communities of North America and Europe, pressured to feed a rapidly growing population, turned to mono-crops and the methods of "big business".

In recent years, Brazil has led the field with regards to developing the potential of the mucuna, and the State has been instrumental in instigating zero-tillage, a technique that has seen yields rise even more dramatically, with less damage caused by way of soil erosion. Some 12 million hectares of the country are now under zero-tillage.

Reporter Julian Pettifer travels through Guatemala, Honduras and Brazil, investigating the "wondrous" properties of the little bean, and hears from those involved, including Roland Bunch, the researcher who first discovered the bean in Guatemala. Correspondent also hears from Professor Jules Pretty, a leading authority on regenerative agriculture, who points to other possible advantages of the mucuna bean, including the reverse migration from city to country and the real benefits against global warming, in that the mucuna sequesters the soil's carbon content.

Robert Hanssen was a devout Catholic and diligent worker who was so respected by his employer, the FBI, that he was trusted with the highest possible security clearance - giving him unrestricted access to many of America's top intelligence secrets. He was a devoted family man who lived a quiet life in a prosperous suburb of Washington DC.

However, one afternoon in February, this model special agent was caught red-handed after hiding a bundle of highly classified intelligence files in Washington park. The intended recipient of the package was the Russian secret service. Hanssen's arrest brought to an end an extraordinary 15-year double life, during which time this member of the Catholic group, Opus Dei, passed over 6,000 top-secret documents to the Soviets and then the Russians. In return, he received diamonds and several hundred thousand dollars in cash - some of which he gave to a Washington lap dancer to try and encourage her to start a new Christian way of life.

Hanssen's betrayal of America's top secrets led to the execution of two KGB double agents, the blowing of numerous human sources of Western intelligence services and the compromise of scores of joint Anglo-American intelligence operations. He also gave his spymasters documents on the most secret and latest military spying technology. For several years, until he was caught, he was responsible for vetting the Russian diplomats who used their cover for spying on the West.

Correspondent's Tom Mangold investigates the background to what may yet turn out to be the West's biggest spying case since Kim Philby, revealing the full extent of the damage and the implications for Western security. He talks exclusively to Hanssen's former colleagues and explores the psychological profile of the near-perfect spy with a member of Hanssen's own defence team.

Genre: Documentary