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CONNECT THE WORLD

The Latest WikiLeaks Revelations; Russia to Host World Cup in 2018; Qatar Also Wins World Cup Bid

Aired December 2, 2010 - 16:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 2018 FIFA World Cup, ladies and gentlemen, will be organized in Russia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MAX FOSTER, HOST: Breaking new ground, as the World Cup heads to Russia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You can see how behind me all of the people screaming. It is amazing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: A shocked result for Qatar, who will take the tournament to the Middle East for the very first time. Even David Beckham couldn't swing it for England's bid -- one of several countries asking this hour, what went wrong?

Going beyond borders on the day's biggest stories, on CNN, this is the hour we connect the world.

Now, in a moment, we'll head across the globe to get reaction from the winning bidders and the losers in the World Cup.

But first, it's -- it's a story that just keeps on giving. And tonight there is no exception, with new revelations from WikiLeaks.

We want to bring you them briefly first.

Here's Atika Shubert with the very latest on that -- Atika.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, "The Guardian" newspaper is leading with more information on the allegations that U.S. diplomats were acting as spies on top U.N. officials. This time, their headline is that the wish list for spies -- for spying was actually created by the CIA then delivered to the State Department.

Meanwhile, "Le" -- "Le Monde" from France, the French newspaper, is going with more news about the relationship between Berlusconi and -- and Russian Prime Minister Putin.

So a lot of information to digest.

In the meantime, WikiLeaks itself has now put out more than 600 of the quarter of a million cables it's still sitting on.

FOSTER: OK, Atika.

Thank you very much.

We'll be back with you later in the program.

We're expecting more cables to be issued this hour, in fact.

Now, one mild surprise, meanwhile, one stunner and bitter disappointment elsewhere -- Russia will host the World Cup in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.

I want to bring in World Sports' Pedro Pinto from Zurich.

He's been there all day -- Pedro, the tournament is going to place it's never been before, but not without controversy.

PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, there was a lot of controversy leading up to the votes today, Max. I won't say that there is controversy now, because people are celebrating two new territories hosting the world's most prestigious sporting event. And, of course, the Olympics is right up there. But when you look at viewing figures, the World Cup is number one.

A lot of intrigue, a lot of drama, a lot of mystery throughout the day -- who's going to vote for what bid?

Well, we're kind of starting to find out all the details. I can at least pass along official numbers as far as the voting totals is -- are concerned.

Let's start with 2018, a vote which, as you mentioned, was won by Russia. But not in the first round. Russia was leading with a total of nine over Portugal and Spain. They had seven. The Netherlands and Belgium four. And here is the surprise -- a lot of people stunned by this number - - England with just two votes. They were eliminated. In the second round, Russia managed to get a majority. The magic number was 12, 21 out of 22, an absolute majority of over 50 percent. Russia got 13, Portugal and Spain, 7, the Netherlands and Belgium 2.

That vote was close, but the vote for 2022 a lot closer. Four rounds were needed. Then, again, there was one more bid -- five total contenders for this World Cup.

Qatar, in the first round, already showed their superiority with 11. So they nearly got a knockout punch in the first round.

South Korea with 4, Japan and the United States with 3, and Australia only 1 -- a surprise there, as well.

In the second round, Japan was eliminated. They got only 2 votes.

In the third round, South Korea was knocked out. This left a head to head battle between Qatar and the United States. And the final vote numbers that decided the winner, Qatar, 14, the United States, 8.

So much information to digest. We are only starting to get all the numbers now. It's unsure whether all the FIFA executive committee members will reveal who they voted for. But there's no doubt that there are two surprising winners, especially Qatar. A lot of people surprised that such a small country will get this prevailing. And a lot of shock, as well, considering that England only got two votes for 2018 -- Max.

FOSTER: Yes, that's certainly true.

OK, Pedro, thank you very much for that.

We're going to get -- be back with you in just a few minutes.

But in the meantime, a triumphant Vladimir Putin headed off to Switzerland to thank FIFA for choosing Russia. We can see him speaking live there now.

Now, senior international correspondent, Matthew Chance, shows us the celebrations, meanwhile, back in the Russian capital.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the mood here in Moscow absolutely euphoric after that news that in 2018, Russia will host, for the first time in Eastern Europe, the World Cup championship. It's a huge boon emotionally for the people of this country. Tens of millions of soccer fans here. And, as I say, overjoyed that their country will be given the opportunity to show the world what they can do.

It's also going to be a huge boon for the Russian economy -- billions of dollars to be invested in football stadiums across the four main areas where the games -- where the cup, in 2018, will be held.

But it's also going to take tens of millions of dollars of investment in infrastructure to bring up the services like the trains, the airports, the telecommunications and that to the standards that are going to be necessary.

So it's all going to sort of really be a major boost for the efforts of the Russian government to modernize this country and, of course, a major boost for football in Russia, as well.

This is how they're celebrating -- flying these -- these hot air balloons up into the skies over Moscow. Matthew Chance, CNN, in the Russian capital.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

FOSTER: Well, that's the winners' story.

What about the losers?

As you might expect, lots of sad faces. The Belgian-Netherlands delegation watched the announcement. They were considered a long shot, but actually outlasted England in the voting.

The 2018 runner-up was Spain and Portugal.

We'll head to Madrid in just a moment. First, though, Alex Thomas on the disappointment here in London.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALEX THOMAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Less than half an hour after FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced Russia as the host for the 2018 World Cup, this area behind me, outside city hall, quickly emptied, as you can see, in stark contrast to the scenes in Trafalgar Square five years ago, when a triumphant crowd celebrated as London was pronounced as the host for the Summer Olympic Games.

It's been a very different mood here in unseasonably cold conditions in London. Because of the adverse weather, not many people turned out to watch the announcement on a big screen.

But as you can imagine, when the word Russia came out of Mr. Blatter's mouth instead of England, there were a few boos. A lot of silence, as well. Maybe the England public had feared the worst.

There is the lingering suspicion that maybe the England 2018 bid team has been punished because of adverse media coverage in the U.K. -- allegations of corruption within the football corridors of power in FIFA's headquarters in Zurich.

Alex Thomas, CNN, London.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL GOODMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Many people in Spain and Portugal thought the joint Iberian candidacy had it all and surely enough to get the necessary votes to host the 2018 World Cup. They said it had the experience. Spain had hosted the World Cup in 1982 and then a decade later, the Barcelona Summer Olympics in 1992. And Portugal had hosted the European championship, Euro 2004.

They said it had the passion. Spain just won its first World Cup ever last July, in South Africa, and Portugal also has a strong national side. They said it had basically everything else -- two strong nations with a lot of tourism, great hotel rooms, stadiums that are mostly built and a culture and history that would attract the world.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, congratulations to Russia. And we came up short, hoping to have gotten it for 2018.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it's good for Spain and Portugal I think. But now it's very bad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I would have preferred Spain's bid, of course. But it will have to wait until another time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GOODMAN: The organizing committee of the Iberian candidacy had predicted it would help both countries get out of the economic crisis they're in right now. It was to have brought in about $900 million U.S., create 100,000 jobs over five years, bring 1.5 million visitors to the two countries. Now they'll have to look for another avenue out of the economic crisis.

Al Goodman, CNN, Madrid.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

FOSTER: So while the losers cope with defeat, we'll look at the shocked winner in the World Cup sweepstakes. Qatar will host the 2022 tournament.

A report from Qatar's capital just ahead.

Later, she's not so scary after all. Meet Mel B, Scary Spice, our Connector of the Day.

I'm Max Foster.

This is CONNECT THE WORLD from London.

And we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: Choosing Qatar after the tiny Middle Eastern nation learned it will host the 2022 World Cup. The vote came right after FIFA awarded the 2018 tournament to Russia. This marked the first time that two World Cup host nations were chosen on the same day.

Now, Qatar had a list of obstacle to overcome -- its small size, extreme summer heat and lack of existing football infrastructure. But there was one huge benefit in Qatar's favor and that is money.

Sara Sidner has more reaction now from Doha.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The smallest country bidding for the 2022 FIFA World Cup has won the bid. And you can see behind me the excitement that is here in Qatar. We're in the capital, Doha, where more than 1,000 people showed up. And I want to let you see behind me, that a lot of them are still here waving the flags and (INAUDIBLE) what we saw enjoying their lives because they're so proud that their small country has made it and has gotten this bid.

Now, the work begins because Qatar has a lot of building to do. They've got to build more hotels, they have 22 stadiums they need to put up and they all have to be very well planned and thought out. They also have to be air conditioned. So the country says it can come up with a five step plan to have semi-open stadiums with open air, but also that the temperature will stay down because remember, when these World Cup games are played, it's about 50 degrees Celsius, 122 degrees Fahrenheit in this country.

(INAUDIBLE) and they're so excited that Qatar is (INAUDIBLE).

(END VIDEO TAPE)

FOSTER: She'll probably lose her voice by the end of all this.

Now, here's a closer look at the winning bid, then, from Qatar. It will be the first Middle Eastern nation to host a global sporting event of this size. The stadium plan includes extensive outdoor air conditioning to combat the region's extreme heat, where summer temperatures can approach 50 degrees Celsius, as she was saying.

Now, Qatar plans to spend $3 billion for 12 stadiums in seven host cities. Nine stadiums will have to be built and three others renovated.

Earlier, we saw reaction from the losers of the 2018 bid. And here are pictures from the 2022 losing nations.

Australian fans showed their disappointment. The nation eliminated in the first round of voting.

Japan were next to go. The nation's top football official promises they'll try again, though.

There are also sour faces in South Korea and the 2022 runner-up, the United States.

We'll start there with Richard Roth.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT: It was so quiet in here before the bid was announced, you could drop a soccer ball. But when the U.S. did not come up, when Sepp Blatter made the big announcement, there were curses and a lot of disappointment.

With me are some USA fans who were watching the announcement here.

Robert, what did you think, Qatar?

ROBERT: Very disappointing. Honestly, their bid was very -- it lacked a lot of consistency. They have to build brand new stadiums for everything.

ROTH: They say they're going to air condition the stadium.

ROBERT: OK, that's new technology. But they obviously are going to have four stadiums in one city, plus, they're going to be in such a small population. They say it's in a big population, but it's a very small area. It's not going to work, in my opinion.

ROTH: Justin (ph), how disappointed are you?

JUSTIN: I can't even describe how disappointed I am. I mean, as an American soccer fan, having the World Cup here would do so much for the sport in this country, because there was so much momentum the last World Cup and if we had the World Cup in our country, it would do so much to build the sport here. And it's a huge disappointment. It's a huge disappointment. I thought we -- I thought we had a very good chance of winning it and we couldn't take it at the end.

ROTH: Hank, I heard you say something about the size of Qatar, comparing it to a U.S. state as you were so upset after the announcement?

HANK: Yes, I can't believe that, in fact, they chose a country that's the size of Connecticut, with one city. I mean with what we did in 1994, being the best attended World Cup, I mean even to this day, no other World Cup has been more attended than the U.S., 1994. So I'm very shocked.

ROTH: What do you think happened in that voting room?

HANK: Well, that's a good question, I mean especially considering with all of the buying of votes that have been in the press in the last, say, three or four weeks. I don't know. It's hard to tell.

ROTH: The FIFA leaders said they're -- it's what a pity for the losing countries, but it is a game and he, in effect, was asking for your understanding -- anybody who was part of the countries that didn't win the bids.

Are you accepting his condolences?

HANK: Well, unfortunately, we don't have a choice. So we will just qualify and play the game as we always have.

ROTH: All right, thank you very much, Hank, Justin, Robert.

Disappointment, the U.S. had it in 1994. It looks like they're going to have to wait four more years plus after 2022 before they host another World Cup.

Richard Roth, CNN, Harrison, New Jersey.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STAN GRANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: South Korea was always an outsider to win the 2022 bid. But about 200 brave souls came here to Busan, outside of Seoul, for a barbecue and a bonfire. They braved the cold to show their support for South Korea's bid.

South Korea did co-host the World Cup in 2002 with Japan. And they would have joined the select group of countries to have actually held it twice.

Now, this was more than just about soccer. It was about uniting a divided country. The slogan for the 2022 bid was "the passion that unites."

They were hoping that football could do what governments, what politicians, what diplomats, what the military have not been able to do and unite North and South Korea.

In fact, there was talk about -- about combining with North Korea to co-host some of the games in 2022. Well, all of that cause now coming to naught. The people here are going home disappointed, but still spirited. And in the past, as we've seen with South Korea, be it the Olympics, Winter and Summer, or the World Cup, they will continue to bid until they win.

Stan Grant, Busan, South Korea.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

FOSTER: OK. Well, on to our other main story.

Actually, I think we can speak to Pedro at this point, because he's in Zurich. But we're going to try -- we can speak to Pedro -- hello, Pedro.

I just want to ask you about all the -- the arguments surrounding this. Obviously, we heard some quite angry sort of American fans there. There is a suspicion that politics weighs heavily in these decisions.

What more can you tell us about the voting?

PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, the voting process is so secretive, Max, that it's incredibly difficult to speculate about who will pledge allegiance to what bid. I can tell you, for example, that before the vote took place, three CONMEBOL votes from South America. Three representatives had said they were already going to vote for the Iberian bid, for Portugal and Spain. But we didn't know much more than that.

Of course, there was speculation that the American representative in the executive committee was going to vote for England and the other way around.

The -- the problem here, Max, is in -- is in the format of the voting. When you only have 24, in this case 22, because two executive committee members were suspend -- but you have 22 people who know each other for decades.

How are you going to stop them from talking to each other?

How are you going to stop them from saying if you vote for him, then I'm going to vote for the other bid and -- I mean it's impossible.

And -- and this is what FIFA needs to do now. They need to go to back to the drawing board, just like the International Olympic Committee did some years ago following the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic scandal. And they need to make this vote open to more representatives. They need to make this vote open to younger people, because we're looking at -- at some FIFA executive committee members, many of them over the age of 70.

Is there anything wrong with people with experience?

Of course not. However, the -- these people have -- have had these power positions for too long. And I think many of them have become a little bit maybe -- maybe used to -- to making these decisions without any kind of repercussions or consequences.

So it's difficult to say that there is corruption. It's difficult to say that there is collusion. What I personally believe is that FIFA should go back to the drawing board and find another way to make the whole process more transparent so they can avoid these kind of -- of allegations.

FOSTER: You talked about a couple of those members who were suspended. That followed a -- a journalistic investigation in this country, the U.K. There was another media story ahead of this, though, wasn't there, in the U.K. And people in the U.K. saying that's why they only got two votes or whatever it was and didn't get through.

Do you think there's anything in that?

PINTO: I think there is. Obviously, we -- we can speculate. But my personal opinion is it's obvious that when some stories come out that insult the integrity of members of the executive committee -- and like I mentioned before, a lot these gentlemen are friends for many years -- of course there's going to be a consequence.

Was it the only reason why England lost?

Of course not. But some people who could have been on the fence, maybe they decided to go against England because of this. And when you have someone like Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, saying that he didn't want to travel here in protest against the smear campaign against FIFA's executive committee, that really shows you what kind of impact this -- this negative campaign in the English media has had in the whole process.

So we will have to ask FIFA's executive committee members themselves directly, and say, did you change your vote because of this negative press in the U.K.?

But a lot of people here believe that it did have a direct effect, yes.

FOSTER: Pedro, thank you very much, indeed.

Now, the leaks just keep on coming. We'll have the latest on those inflammatory diplomatic cables being published by WikiLeaks and the indignant reactions to them from world leaders.

But first, our Green Week continues in Russia, where some organic farmers are hoping to change the habits of a country accustomed to processed food.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: All this week on CNN, we are looking at how our actions today are impacting tomorrow.

We began on Yemen, a country torn between a lucrative cash crop and a disappearing water supply.

On Tuesday, we turned to Brazil, where one man's trash is turning into another man's plan for the future.

On Wednesday, we took you out to the ball game to show you how America's favorite pastime and some of its legendary teams are going green.

Now, tonight, we turn to Russia, home to 140 million people, but just a tiny number of organic food producers. Now, a few dedicated foodies are trying to change that.

CNN's Matthew Chance reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAY CLOSE, CHEESE MAKER: Now this is where we curd the cheese. We make curds and whey.

CHANCE: (voice-over): Like his cheese, Jay Close is a rarity in Russia -- an artisan food producer using only natural, organic ingredients. And his range of delicately flavored cheeses produced outside Moscow are proving popular. In fact, he says, he can't curdle enough of it.

(on camera): This -- this fenugreek cheese, for instance, it's -- it's absolutely spectacular tasting.

But who's your market?

Who buys fenugreek organic cheese here in Russia from you?

CLOSE: It would be people who are tired of eating the fake cheese. We call it pseudo cheese. It's almost cheese.

CHANCE: Which is the cheese that you get?

CLOSE: Every -- every supermarket sells it...

CHANCE: Yes.

CLOSE: Because you don't find much imported cheese in Russia. But you will find it will be very expensive. And it won't be fresh. This is like made two days ago. All of this was made two days ago.

CHANCE: (voice-over): A Virginian from the United States, he even has his own calves here in Russia, like this one, Donna (ph), reared on an organic diet.

(on camera): Hello, Donna.

Well, the -- don't mind, she's a bit frisky. But the -- the movement toward natural organic produce in Russia is still very much in its infancy, just a few small farmers and artisan producers like Jay and his cheese producing cows scattered all over the country.

But the popularity of the food is increasing, as awareness grows, and Russians find it easier to buy organic.

(voice-over): Back in the capital is one of Russia's only organic food shops. The owner tells me he caters to a growing band of discerning Russian foodies.

(on camera): Is this organic fish?

BORIS AKIMOV, ORGANIC SHOP OWNER: Yes. This is organic fish...

CHANCE: Where is this from?

AKIMOV: It's from Pleshava...

CHANCE: (INAUDIBLE)?

AKIMOV: Pleshava Lake. It's 150 kilometers from Moscow.

CHANCE: They're freshwater fish?

(voice-over): The produce is all local, seasonal and increasingly in demand.

(on camera): And do you get the sense that -- that more and more people in Russia are starting to appreciate the value of good organic food like this?

AKIMOV: Yes. Of course. Because we started about a year ago. More and more people just to start -- are starting to think about it, starting to buy organic food, starting to -- or start to think about not just -- not at most their health, but not just about their health, but also about like social -- buying food is a social movement, a social act, because you buy it from a farmer, you know who is -- who are responsible for this food.

CLOSE: These cheeses -- it goes really fast. So I have to hide it. That's what it's for.

CHANCE: Wow!

This is from your cow outside?

CLOSE: Yes. Yes.

CHANCE: That's pretty amazing. Come on, then.

How much cheese will this make?

CLOSE: Ten liters, which is, what, two-and-a-half gallons, approximately, two or three gallons.

CHANCE: So we're talking about...

CLOSE: It would make you one kilo.

CHANCE: (voice-over): And the movement in Russia toward locally produced food, often dismissed here as a fad, appears now, like Jay's cheese, to be maturing rather well.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

FOSTER: Well, tomorrow, we are taking you off to the coast of Mexico, where evidence from an oil spill 30 years ago can still be found in the water. We'll head into the deep with oceanographer Philippe Cousteau to show what that oil has done to the ecosystem there. That's tomorrow at this time on CONNECT THE WORLD.

Now, did Russia's current prime minister know about the plot to kill a distant Russian spy in Britain?

That's the question posed in one of the latest documents released by WikiLeaks.

Details just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: You are back with CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Max Foster in London. Coming up, WikiLeaks has turned the diplomatic on its head, but it's not done yet. We'll have a live report on the very latest information to surface.

Also ahead, she was one fifth of the best-selling female singing sensation of all time. Now, it's a scary world for Mel B. The former Spice Girl takes your questions as our Connector of the Day.

And then, connecting your voices to top stories around the world. Tonight, it's all about the elation and anguish that came with the World Cup announcements. We're kicking off a new feature here on Connect the World.

All those stories ahead in the show for you. First, let's take a look at the headlines.

Russian and Qatar are named hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments in Zurich. These will be the first World Cups in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. FIFA says its desire to grow the sport around the world played a big part in the choices.

We still don't know the results of the Ivory Coast presidential runoff. The electoral commission says a former prime minister, Alassane Ouattara, won with around 54 percent of the vote. But the country's constitutional council says the results arrived after the set deadline and are now invalid.

A raging forest fire in northern Israel has killed at least 22 people. Some of those deaths occurred when a bus carrying prison employees overturned in the fire zone. Officials say hot and dry weather was -- or has fueled the blaze near Haifa.

The British government says a US grenade killed British aid worker Linda Norgrove in October's botched rescue attempt. She'd been kidnapped by militants in Afghanistan. British foreign secretary William Hague says the grenade was thrown after the US-led rescue team landed from a helicopter to try to save Norgrove.

Let's go back to the secret US embassy cables exposed by WikiLeaks. We have two live reports for you on the latest revelations. We have Atika Shubert, she's monitoring the English and French media in London. And at CNN Center, Frederik Pleitgen is monitoring "Der Spiegel" for us. First of all, to you, Atika. What have you found out?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, basically, it looks like Afghanistan is the headline for the evening. "Le Monde," the French paper, has here just an alert showing that WikiLeaks cables reveal the choices that Nicolas Sarkozy -- President Nicolas Sarkozy had to make about Afghanistan. Especially concerns about managing public opinion back home in France.

And then, "The Guardian" has this -- this headline. "WikiLeaks cables expose Afghan contempt for British military." And this really centers around the performance of British troops in the Afghanistan -- in the town of Sangin in Afghanistan.

This, of course, has become a sore point here, with so many British soldiers having died in that area. And, apparently, Afghan officials are being quoted in this cable as saying they were not happy with the performance of British soldiers, saying they failed to secure the area. And, perhaps more importantly, failed to connect with many of the Afghan people.

So, this is what "The Guardian" is focusing on. I don't believe that WikiLeaks has that original cable out yet. They do have some 600 or so cables already out, from the quarter of a million. But they're still rolling out some of those cables on Afghanistan.

FOSTER: Atika, thank you. "The Guardian" with special access to these files. The other paper, one of them, is "The New York Times," and Fred's been having a look at that for us. Fred?

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, exactly, Max. And it seems as though Afghanistan is the main focus of the day there as well. They just updated their website and have a new story on Afghanistan, focusing on the corruption within the Afghan government and describing it, actually, as much bigger than many people would have even thought.

Of course, most people knew that there was pretty large corruption within the Afghan government, but there's some interesting sort of segments that you find in "The New York Times article. One says that the agriculture minister, Asif Rahimi, "appears to be the only minister that was confirmed about whom no allegations of bribery exist." So, just to show how deep that runs.

And then, it goes on a little further in the -- in when they're quoting one of these stages -- one of these cables where, apparently, an Afghan insider told them that there were four stages of corruption in American projects in Afghanistan. One is when the contractors bid on a project, at the application for building permits, during construction, and then during the ribbon cutting ceremony.

So, certainly, "The New York Times" there focusing, apparently, on cables that outline the amount of corruption and also the amount of American taxpayer money that's being siphoned off by corrupt Afghan government officials.

Again, this is really something that a lot of people knew was going on. It was never clear, actually, to what extent this was going on, although a lot of people, of course, certainly did believe that it was quite a large extent to which American money, especially, of course, also British money and money from other nations, was being skimmed by corrupt government officials all throughout Afghanistan. But especially, also, in the Kabul government, of course, Max.

FOSTER: OK, Fred, thank you very much. Atika, thank you to you, too. Well, still ahead, the US and Canada have some of the strongest ties in the world, but in those secretive cables, US diplomats suggested there's an insidious plot on Canadian TV to turn the public against the United States. We'll have that and other WikiLeaks revelations you might have missed when we return.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: US embassy documents released by WikiLeaks have left diplomats around the world red-faced. But to their dismay, the leaks just keep on dripping out. Shortly after Russian spy-turned-dissident Alexander Litvinenko died from poisoning in London, a US diplomat questioned whether Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin knew about the plot to kill him. The diplomat pointed out Mr. Putin's, quote, "attention to detail."

Another revelation today. "The Guardian" is reporting that the CIA is the agency that drew up spying wish lists for the US State Department. Leaked cables suggest US diplomats were told to gather intelligence on top United Nations officials.

Our next guest is a former Deputy Secretary General of the UN. Mark Malloch-Brown says he assumed he was being spied on during his tenure there. He's now chairman of Global Affairs at the business advisory firm FTI Consulting. Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

It is no surprise to you and I that there's spying. People have talked about it at the UN. But it is surprising to a lot of people out there watching. But I guess the CIA story shows that it's the spies spying, it's not the diplomats spying.

MARK MALLOCH-BROWN, FORMER UN DEPUTY SECRETARY GENERAL: Well, I hope so. I mean, earlier in the week, it seemed that the diplomats had been instructed to get credit card numbers and other information about their UN counterparts. And that was unsettling, because I think it's one thing for spies to spy, but when that seeps into the work of ordinary diplomats, then that really does undermine trust.

Now, the fact they do it and we're used to it doesn't necessarily make it a good thing. And one very happy outcome of all of this would be if shamefaced politicians, not just in the US, but elsewhere, decided that there was certain categories of spying, like UN officials, such as I was, which shouldn't be authorized anymore. Let the UN get on with its business.

FOSTER: But as you've indicated, everyone there assumes they are being spied upon. So, that's the key thing, isn't it? So, it's not as harmful as people may think it was.

MALLOCH-BROWN: Well, there's the same argument that the US makes about these leaks in general, which is, it undermines the private, confidential space in which diplomacy needs to take place. Well, the UN is all about that. So, the fact that we had to run a kind of open-source diplomacy, where we knew that different parties were probably listening in on us, certainly didn't help us in our mission.

FOSTER: OK. And as a former UK foreign office minister, as well, what do you make of what we're hearing about how the Afghans viewed you, effectively, in your position?

MALLOCH-BROWN: Well, yes. Look, it's disappointing that they did not appreciate the British troops there, because our men and women were giving their lives. But again, it's -- it was a sort of well-known secret, that there was considerable level of American discomfort with British military performance.

It came after a period in which Britain had always been saying, "Look, we understand counter-insurgency. We get out there and actually mix with local people, we've done this much better than the US." So, both sides, there's a little bit briefed against each other.

Again, I think the most fundamental point of all about these leaks is that they are reports from the field. They're not Washington policy. This is not somebody in Washington affirming that Britain was under performing militarily. Time after time, it's perhaps a junior political officer in an American embassy somewhere reporting what he hears, essentially doing a journalistic job.

The difficulty has been that the media has treated that as official government policy. So, in this case, the fact that there were some Afghans grumbling about British military performance and that gets reported back to Washington doesn't surprise me, even if it disappoints me.

But that wasn't Washington policy. Washington went out of its way to say it supported and appreciated what the British military were doing.

FOSTER: Can I just ask you as well about something which may have wider repercussions, is this relationship between Berlusconi and Putin. Were you aware of that relationship being close, and were you surprised but what you've seen in the cables?

MALLOCH-BROWN: Well, there are always rumors about them having houses -- holiday homes near each other and things like that. And again, frankly, the issue with corruption more broadly, and I saw this as a government minister, was it's easy to report, hard to prove. And I'm not sure whether these cables take us further.

An awful lot of these cables are, again, not assertions made by the US government. They are reports of what a Spanish magistrate told US diplomats, and they are just doing a straight reporting job to Washington. So, did the US believe these? Did they have confirming evidence? These cables don't tell us that. All they told us was these allegations were made, and the diplomats very properly were reporting them to home base.

FOSTER: Can I just ask you very briefly, if we saw British cables, for example, which you would have had access to, would we be equally surprised and shocked as we have been by these?

MALLOCH-BROWN: Well, I hope so, because British diplomats, as you might expect, are all would-be journalist monkeys, who love the colorful phrase, go out of their way to pen the cable which a jaded minister will read late at night in his red box. So, --

FOSTER: Maybe once --

MALLOCH-BROWN: I think there'd be surprises, too.

FOSTER: OK. Mark Malloch-Brown, thank you very much, indeed.

MALLOCH-BROWN: Thanks.

FOSTER: In addition to all the major disclosures making headlines, there are other interesting WikiLeaks revelations that you might have missed. For instance, one of the leaked US cables suggest Haitian president Rene Preval wanted to orchestrate Haiti's political transition so he could avoid being forced into exile. It said Mr. Preval fears his successor won't allow him to return to private life in Haiti after his term expires next year.

We've heard some of the disclosures already about Silvio Berlusconi, but a new one quotes a friend of the Italian prime minister as saying his, quote, "frequent late nights and penchant for partying hard mean he does not get sufficient rest. And a senior Italian official reportedly called Mr. Berlusconi "physically and politically weak."

And US president Barack Obama may have chosen Canada as his first trip abroad once he took office, but a leaked document reveals that US diplomats in Ottawa warned of growing anti-American sentiment in Canada. In particular, quote, "anti-American melodrama on Canadian TV." The diplomats felt a number of programs were broadcasting, quote, "insidious negative stereotyping of people in the United States." The CBC, one of the broadcasters accused, says it respectfully disagrees.

Up next, we're going to hear from our Connector of the Day. Mel B. looks back on her life as a Spice Girl and talks about her world after the super group. That story ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: Well, whether you loved their tunes or you hate them, you can't help but sing along, usually. The Spice Girls set the scene for girl bands around the world. And tonight, we're bringing you the scary one as your Connector of the Day.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSIC - "Wannabe")

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): It's been more than 15 years since the world met Ginger, Baby, Posh, Sporty, and Scary. But the girl power legacy lives on in epic proportions. As the best-selling female group of all time, the Spice Girls set the bar for future girl bands around the world, becoming international icons in a way few have.

Melanie Brown rose to fame as one fifth of the legendary group. Known to her fans as Scary Spice, or just Mel B., Brown was infamous for her wild hair and all-out dance moves.

Following the Spice Girls' breakup, she went on to pursue a solo singing career and now has a reality show with her husband entitled, "It's a Scary World."

STEPHEN BELAFONTE, MELANIE'S HUSBAND: Angel. Angel.

MELANIE BROWN, SINGER: Angel, do you think Daddy can do a 10 K?

ANGEL BROWN, MELANIE'S DAUGHTER: Yes.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Brown spoke to me about her best moments post- Spice World.

BROWN: Well, you know what? I've been offered to do my own reality show on and off for the last four years. And I've always been reluctant. From reading the press and what people have rumored me to be like and do, I just thought, what do I have to lose?

People are already judging me, they're already writing what they want. I'd rather -- especially if you're a fan -- knowing me for who I am. And I opened up my doors and I felt very comfortable doing it.

But one thing I did do is, I actually got the cameras into my home for ten days as a tester, in case my kids or husband were going to embarrass me.

(LAUGHTER)

BROWN: Just to make sure that everyone's --

ANDERSON (on camera): Or you embarrass them.

BROWN: Or I embarrass myself. Just to make sure everybody felt comfortable, and then I signed off on my contract, because it was just like -- And no one was affected.

ANDERSON: Mel, you are, to a certain extent, airing your dirty laundry by, effectively, doing some marriage counseling in the show.

BROWN: Well --

ANDERSON: How does that feel?

BROWN: You know what? This is my theory. I think therapy should be a thing that you do like taking your car in to go and get oil or have a service. Therapy should not be the last resort into saving a marriage or a relationship. It's like keeping each other on point, but having a pro do that, or help you do that.

And I have -- I'm not embarrassed about having therapy. At least I'm working on myself, and I'm -- I have not been one to hide behind closed doors. I say exactly what I think and I do exactly what I want.

ANDERSON: I've got some questions from the viewers. Ramesh asks, "Being the star of a reality TV show, do you ever feel like you have no privacy?" And he asks, "How do the kids feel about it?"

BROWN: Well, thank God the kids loved it. And if they didn't want to do it, then I would be saying absolutely no on a reality show from the get go. But you know, they're not -- I'm showing me and my family and you see the balance between family and career and husband and this, that, and the other. And I have no problem showing that.

One thing that you're going to get to see in the show, that I am, in some ways, kind of normal. We do sit-down family dinners every night. I check on Phoenix, make sure she's doing her homework. I wake the kids up and I do school runs. And then, while they're at school, I go a bit crazy and do my own thing.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: Of course, we need to talk about this, because the viewers want to hear about it. The transitioning from the Spice Girls to what is now your own career. Let's talk about the Spice Girls. You guys were fit.

BROWN: Yes. We were 18, who isn't fit at 18 with no cellulite? I mean, come on! But one thing is, we were workaholics. We did not want to stop working. We wanted to spread our girl power message everywhere, from Japan to Asia to Europe. We were just on a mission.

When you've got five girls that are all hungry like that, we were on a roller coaster ride of constant enjoyable work. So that definitely kept us physically fit and mentally fit.

ANDERSON: You talk about girl power. We're talking 15 years ago. For me --

BROWN: Thanks for the reminder.

(LAUGHTER)

BROWN: Hello!

ANDERSON: It feels like yesterday, to me, as a spring chicken, of course. Laura asks, "Do you see a difference, a generational difference in embracing of what was what you started, girl power?" What do you think of the girl bands these days?

BROWN: Back in our day, we didn't think about being that sexy. We were just running around on stage, we had our message to sing, it was all about supporting of the -- supporting your girlfriends, your females. It wasn't about hitting on guys, but it wasn't about going, "Ooh, look at me." And it's a little bit more racy these days.

Which -- obviously, things are going to develop. But when I've got my three-year-old singing songs on the radio like -- let's not even mention what they're saying, but they're, oh dear.

ANDERSON: Do they sing the old songs? Do they sing the Spice Girls songs?

BROWN: In 2008, we all took our kids on tour, so they were on stage with us, and they got to hear the music constantly. But they all loved it. We had a really good time.

ANDERSON: Did you enjoy that?

BROWN: Oh, my gosh, yes.

ANDERSON: Because there was lots of talk about whether you all got on. Do you?

BROWN: But there's always talk whether we always get on or not. And we've known each other for 15 years, so we're like family. We might not talk as much as we used to talk or see each other as much as we used to, but we've got a special bond that I don't think can ever be broken.

ANDERSON: I've got to ask you. Victoria Beckham, of course, as she is now, lives in LA. Are you mates?

BROWN: We are mates.

ANDERSON: Do you see each other there?

BROWN: We're all mates, but we haven't seen each other in a very long time, if I'm honest. But yes, we're all very supportive of one another. It's like our own little clique.

ANDERSON: Do you think, given the expect sort of deal these days that Britain's Got Talent or America's Got Talent, that you guys would've been as successful if you'd been up against what's out there today?

BROWN: Probably not.

(LAUGHTER)

BROWN: I don't know.

ANDERSON: I think the other quick question, and many of our viewers want to hear, is how was the transition between that and now?

BROWN: You know, I'm always going to be a Spice Girl. I won't be able to sit here on the set of my own video game if it wasn't for me being a Spice Girl. So, that I'm always going to be. And you know what? I'm one of four other people that, in the whole entire world, can say, "I'm a Spice Girl." And I'm going to hang on that until the day I die.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: Still proud to be one. Mel B. speaking to Becky earlier. We'll be right back after this short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: Now, I want to bring you a new segment that we're calling Connecting Voices. And this is where you tell us about how major stories are impacting where you live. And tonight, it's all about the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat following today's World Cup announcements.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REUBEN MOURAD, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: Well, I can tell you, there's one or two very, very disappointed Australians at the moment. We started off Friday morning with the sad news that the bid wasn't successful. And I suppose it's particularly disappointing considering Australia's success in the last couple of World Cups and the subsequent increase in the popularity that football's had right across the country over the last decade or so.

But in the true Aussie spirit, it's on the upwards and onwards, and I know that Australians all around the country will be eager for the next bid for the FIFA World Cup.

KEIRA RODRIGUEZ, NEW YORK: Well, here in New York City, as you know, there was a big support for the last World Cup, so not getting it in 2022, it's a little bit discouraging. We did not get the Olympics in Chicago, but -- and we didn't get this one, either. So, hopefully, we'll just try harder next time.

EDUARD SWAGEMAKERS, CHAAM, NETHERLANDS: Hi, I'm Eduard and this is Jules. We are in the Netherlands, and we just heard that FIFA announced that not the Netherlands, but Russia made it for the World Cup 2018. So, we are really disappointed that we're not getting it over here, and we'll have to watch it all on television.

DAVID BURTON, DOHA, QATAR: Right now, I'm in Doha, Qatar, which my wife and children just came from the announcement recently, and it is so exciting for the country. The roads are manic and crazy, and the people are so happy. And there are people that are out on the streets and the roads from all around the region.

And at the park where the announcement was made, it wasn't just Qatarese, it was also westerners and people from right around the world. It's just a great, great celebration and a great thing for the region.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: If you want to be a connecting voice, here's your chance. We want you to tell us how the big stories of the day are affecting you. Do head to our website to find out how you go about it.

Be sure to join us tomorrow for a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD. We'll dig even deeper into the WikiLeaks controversy as we examine the effect these documents are having on policy for a number of key issues, including North Korea and Iran. That's on Friday, right here on CONNECT THE WORLD.

I'm Max Foster. "BackStory" is next, but before we go to that, we're going to check the headlines for you.

END