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CONNECT THE WORLD

White House Will Not Release bin Laden Photos

Aired May 4, 2011 - 16:00:00   ET

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


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: The only evidence of a deadly raid, after the U.S. decides not to release photos of bin Laden's body. As the U.S. and Pakistan continue to question why he wasn't caught earlier, we're going to take a closer look at an increasingly rocky relationship. And we'll ask whether an interrogation technique like this was key to tracking him down. plus tonight, the suicide of an American football player sheds new light on the dangers faced in the field.

These stories and more tonight, as we connect the world.

First, fears of an angry backlash have trumped the desire to silence any doubts. The White House has decided not to release photos of Osama bin Laden's body. Now, U.S. officials have described the photos taken after a U.S. commando raid in his Pakistani hideout as gruesome. A source tells CNN, President Barack Obama was never in favor of releasing them, believe conspiracy theorists wouldn't be satisfied with any amount of proof.

The White House spokesman explained the decision, quoting the president's own words.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: "Keep in mind that we are absolutely certain that this was him. We've done DNA sampling and testing, and so there is no doubt that we killed Obama. It is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool. That's not who we are. We don't trot out this stuff as trophies."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: All right, well, there was, reportedly at least, one witness to the killing. A Pakistani source tells CNN Osama bin Laden's daughter says that she saw U.S. forces shoot her father.

Well, that girl and other people left behind at the compound are being interrogated by Pakistani officials. Evidence found on bin Laden's body suggests he may have been ready to escape at a moment's notice. He reportedly had 500 euros in cash and two telephone numbers sewn into his clothing.

All right, let's get more on the top story today, President Obama's decision not to release any pictures of bin Laden's body.

Wolf Blitzer is stand by.

He's been following the story from Washington and is live from there - - Wolf, what we do know about this?

WOLF BLITZER, HOST: The president was adamant he didn't think it would add anything, it could only hurt. He thought that it was a matter of principle, if you will. Those who hate the United States around the world, those Al Qaeda supporters and others, they probably wouldn't believe the photos even if they were released, they would be -- the U.S. would be accused of doctoring the photos or Photoshopping the photos, making up the photos.

So the president, in the end -- and some of his top advisers disagreed with him on this -- said, you know what, if they don't believe the United States after everything the U.S. has said, they're not going to believe seeing this actual photo and that could further inspire some Al Qaeda supporters out there, renegades, to go ahead and take revenge, if they need any more inspiration.

Sited, he decided, as a matter of principle, as he said, the United States doesn't do this kind of stuff, it doesn't give out the gruesome, bloody pictures. And there's a shot of -- apparently, I haven't seen it -- but there's a shot of bin Laden with a bullet that went through his head, there's blood all over the place, a rather gory picture. The United States doesn't do this simply to show some gory -- gory pictures as a trophy, if you will.

So the president was adamant and they're not going to be released.

ANDERSON: Described as gruesome, these pictures, by some people who've seen them -- Wolf, do you think this puts a lid on it?

Is that it?

Are we never going to see these photos?

BLITZER: Well, never is a long time. I assume, you know, some -- at some point, we'll get some of these photos. It might take, you know, a year or five years, 20 years. At some point, I'm sure historians will have access to them. It will take some time.

But right now, unless there's a massive leak some place, you know, some U.S. official decides to leak the actual picture -- and I know they're being very closely held by the top U.S. leadership -- it -- it's not going to be released.

You know, some have said well, maybe someone could file a Freedom of Information request and -- to get these legally. But if the president deems it in the -- the U.S. national security not to release these photos, the courts probably are not going to overrule the president's decision.

ANDERSON: Yes, all right.

Wolf Blitzer, my colleague there, in Washington.

Wolf, thank you for that.

Well, the location of bin Laden's hideout has led to endless speculation about how the world's most wanted terrorist could live undetected in a military garrison town. Well, CNN's Nic Robertson went for a drive to show us how close the compound is to what is Pakistan's most prestigious military academy.

Have a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTSON: This is Pakistan's famous military academy. They've got a great big tank right outside of it. And it's famous because this is where all of Pakistan's army officers come to get trained. And it's literally about half a mile to a mile from where bin Laden was living.

We're going to take a look at how far away it was and how to get there.

It's straight down this road. You'll see the road goes long and straight towards the mountains. There's plenty of soldiers around here. It's the equivalent, if you like, of West Point in the United States or Sandhurst in Britain. It's absolutely famous throughout Pakistan.

And further up the road here, we've got a problem, because where we were able to drive up the road yesterday and then take the back streets to get across to bin Laden's compound, today the police upon -- the police are up there. They've got a checkpoint and they won't let us get through. So we're going to have to park up in a minute and dive down, take a walk down some of these little back alleys.

But this is about -- we said about a kilometer, just over half a mile from that military academy. Well, it's quite an affluent area. There's another house being built, quite posh looking, a cut above the average here. It's also got protection along the railings here and then just painting the walls.

This is an up-and-coming town. People here tell us that it's expanding quite rapidly -- an ideal place for bin Laden to move into unnoticed.

If it wasn't for the police checkpoint, we wouldn't have to go across the river, but this now seems to be the only way that we can get to bin Laden's compound. He made it look easy. I'm not sure that I will. Some of them are a bit wobbly.

We're about a mile from the military academy now and we're out in the farmlands, the fields -- cabbages over here, cows grazing over here. It's a completely different feel to the center of the town. And this is perhaps how bin Laden was able to hide away, because there weren't so many people around.

More houses, though. This one is almost as tall as bin Laden's, but it doesn't have the wall. But this one over here, it's quite large. The wall is not as high, but it does have the barbed wire. And, again, the thing that made bin Laden's different, the wall was just higher -- probably twice that height. And it also had the barbed wire at the top.

This is about as close as we're going to be able to get to bin Laden's compound. It's about 500 yards that way. There's a police checkpoint here, an army checkpoint over there, a police there. The police are coming down here. We're not going to be able to go any further forward.

How come he was able to live here and get away with it and that intelligence services didn't pick up on him sooner, that's going to be a lingering question. And no indications we'll get an answer to it any time soon.

Nic Robertson, CNN, close to Osama bin Laden's compound, Abbottabad, Pakistan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: All right, and with a slight delay, Nic joining us from there now -- Nic, we've seen you -- we've seen the report that you filed, quite remarkable, really. We talked yesterday about whether it was conceivable that no one would have known that he was there.

Having -- having been there, having sort of run the route, as it were, how do you feel?

ROBERTSON: (AUDIO GAP) to me that it wasn't sort of under the sort of immediate view of the military academy, which would have been just unbelievable if the academy had sort of overlooked bin Laden's compound and he hadn't been seen.

But there had to be some game for him to be living so close to that military compound because, you know, it's not the place you would automatically look. So I think there's some, perhaps he got some security from it. But he's chosen the area very well.

This is an area that is an affluent area. There's people moving in. It's sort of a transient area. This town fills up more in the summer because it's a -- a cooler place. It's in the mountains. It's a better place to be than on the plains of Pakistan.

So it's -- it seems to be a very, very carefully chosen location in an area that's got historic sympathies to sort of the Islamist fight, if you will.

So it's possible that there were other sympathizers that would perhaps be useful to him in the area. And historic ties to Pakistan's intelligence services. That's not to say that they were at play here. But it does, I think the overall impression is that he's chosen this city and the precise location in this city very, very carefully -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Hmmm. Fascinating.

All right, Nic Robertson there by the compound for you in Pakistan.

Suspicions are deepening in the United States that Pakistani officials knew about Osama bin Laden's secret hiding place and perhaps even protected him. In remarkably blunt terms CNI -- CAI -- CI -- I'm sorry -- CIA chief, Leon Panetta, told U.S. lawmakers that Pakistani officials were either, quote, "involved or incompetent," adding, "neither is a good place to be."

Well, Pakistan's prime minister denies any complicity and says the whole world shares the blame for intelligence lapses.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

YOUSUF RAZA GILANI, PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER: We are in the middle of war and we are fighting a war on terrorism. And we have a resolve. We have the ability. And we have the will to fight against extremism and terrorism. Certainly, we have intelligence sharing with the rest of the world, including the United States.

So if somebody points out that there is some of the lapses from Pakistan's side, that these are the lapses from the whole world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Hmmm. All right, well, an official from Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, also takes offense at the suggestion that the Pakistanis are either corrupt or inept, saying the correct word is -- and I quote -- "embarrassed."

Well, Reza Sayah takes an in-depth look now at the growing war of words between two long time allies in the fight against terror.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just when you thought U.S.-Pakistani relations couldn't get any worse, Osama bin Laden, the most wanted man in the world, is found and killed living in a house just a few blocks away from Pakistani military facilities -- the same military that was supposed to help find bin Laden but kept saying that he wasn't living in Pakistan.

Many U.S. officials suspicious. Someone here had to know he was living there, they say.

Pakistanis not too happy, either, about what many call a violation of their sovereignty. "Pakistan Upset about Being Kept in the Dark," read this headline.

What's your reaction that U.S. helicopters flew into Pakistan and did this...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I don't like it, no.

SAYAH: Do you trust the United States government?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. No. Not really.

SAYAH: Bin Laden's hideout, right under the noses of the Pakistani government, is yet another blow a partnership that has suffered many. Despite giving Islamabad billions of dollars in aid, Washington has long suspected Pakistan of playing a double game -- publicly supporting the U.S. war against extremism, but privately maintaining links with hard core militant groups to increase their sway in the region, especially in neighboring Afghanistan.

Pakistanis have hit back, blasting what they call a failed U.S. foreign policy in the region. Pakistan didn't have suicide attacks until the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, they say. Pakistan has also condemned U.S. drone strikes on its soil and most recently, CIA official, Raymond Davis, who shot to death two Pakistani men he said were trying to rob him.

IMTIAZ GUL, POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it is very damaging. It is also very, very frustrating.

SAYAH: Political analyst Imtiaz Gul says despite their seemingly endless troubles, don't expect U.S.-Pakistan relations to fall apart.

GUL: Both need each other. I mean you cannot ignore a country of 180 million people which is next to an already destabilized country.

SAYAH: Indeed, the U.S. is counting on Pakistan's links to militant groups to help secure a political solution in Afghanistan and an eventual troop withdrawal. Pakistan needs the U.S. to help support its weak government and its struggling economy. The U.S. also gives Pakistan crucial leverage against its perennial enemy, India.

GUL: There is, I think, a marriage of convenience right now. They are not partnering in bed, probably, but they are still living under the same roof.

SAYAH: Indeed, despite some cutting criticism from both sides over the operation that killed bin Laden, Pakistan and the U.S. have also praised one another this week in the fight against extremism. Simultaneous insults and compliments that mark a mistrustful and often puzzling relationship that, for now, remains intact.

Reza Sayah, CNN, Islamabad.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, that information led to the raid and revived a debate -- we're going to take a look into that. Coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, should controversial interrogation techniques like waterboarding be used in the fight against terror?

That coming up here on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Well, it's a controversial and now illegal interrogation technique, but some former U.S. officials say that it helped lead to Osama bin Laden.

So did waterboarding really help the investigation or does old- fashioned espionage deserve the credit?

We're going to debate that issue coming up here on CONNECT THE WORLD.

I'm Becky Anderson in London.

It's just after quarter past nine.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

A look at some of the other stories that we are following for you this hour.

And the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court has announced there is enough evidence to file charges against the Gadhafi regime for crimes against humanity. Luis Moreno-Ocampo says that he is seeking warrants, though he isn't yet specifying who they will cover.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LUIS MORENO-OCAMPO, CHIEF PROSECUTOR, INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT: I will work with the judges to issue hard warrants against three -- against three individuals who appear to bear the greatest criminal responsibility for crimes against humanity committed in the territory of Libya since the 18th of February, 2011. In all the incidents to be presented to the judges, the victims who were shot at by the security forces were unarmed civilians. And in all these incidents, there is new evidence of any attack against the security forces.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, search teams have found five bodies following Tuesday's explosion at a mine in Northern Mexico. Rescuers had to wait until toxic gases cleared before they could begin searching for the miners. Nine people are still trapped inside the mine.

Now, the Mexican president, Felipe Calderon, says federal authorities are working with state officials to find them.

Well, it will be known forever as the year of the tornadoes. The United States has suffered what is now being recognized as the largest tornado outbreak in the country's history. At least 178 of the twisters tore across 14 states on April the 27th and 28th. That surpasses the previous record of 148 tornadoes in 1974.

The latest outbreak is also the third deadliest on record -- 327 people have been killed.

Well, U.S. Army engineers say a controversial plan to ease flooding on the Mississippi River seems to be working. The Army Corps of Engineers breached a levee to ease pressure on other areas, but flooded nearby farmland, angering some residents.

Well, it looks like we are headed for a Manchester United-Barcelona final in the Champions League in the second half of the second leg of Man United's semi-final match versus Germany, Schalke and the English side lead 4-1, extending their aggregate lead to 6-1. And Barcelona, you'll remember, beat Real Madrid yesterday. And that final is set for May the 28th at Wembley. And what a game that will be.

Well, officials agree that the trail that led to Osama bin Laden took many years to form.

But did a controversial interrogation technique also play a part.

We're going to discuss that up next.

Plus, a professionally athlete who took his life but left a suicide note with an unusual request. The astonishing discovery that doctors made when they followed his instructions.

That coming up, after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Well, White House officials are releasing more information about the trail of evidence that led them to Osama bin Laden. Some of that information came from detainees, we believe, who had been subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay Prison.

But the head of the CIA says that doesn't necessarily justify their use.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEON PANETTA, CIA DIRECTOR: I think some of the detainees clearly were, you know, they -- they used these enhanced interrogation techniques against some of these detainees. But I'm also saying that, you know, the debate about whether -- whether we would have gotten the same information through other approaches, I think, is always going to be an open question.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Leon Panetta there.

Well, enhanced interrogation techniques have been used on high value detainees to extract information without resorting to torture. The most films of those techniques was waterboarding, which U.S. President Obama prohibited in 2009, saying that it was torture.

Well, the practice involves strapping a person to a board and lowering their head. A cloth is then placed over the face and mouth and water is poured over the cloth to simulate drowning.

Well, as we've been hearing, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded at Guantanamo Prison and still, he didn't reveal anything about Osama bin Laden's courier. It was that refusal to give information that actually helped U.S. officials realize just how important the courier really was.

So how does that influence the controversy over waterboarding?

Well, let's discuss that, shall we, tonight?

Jamie Rubin is joining me tonight, with Marc Thiessen.

Jamie is the former U.S. assistant secretary of State to U.S. President Clinton, of course. He's in New York tonight.

And Marc is joining us from Washington, where he was the chief speechwriter for former U.S. President George W. Bush.

He's also the author of the book, "Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack".

A chorus, Jamie, of Bush administration officials claiming vindication for their policy of enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding tonight.

Are they right?

JAMIE RUBIN, FORMER U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: They're really grasping at straws here. The evidence that I've seen publicly come out suggests that the information that came from detainees came well after waterboarding was prohibited, that is, in 2003. It was stopped by the CIA because of the controversy and the damage it did to American national security in terms of the way the world looked at us.

And so the information that we got from detainees in 2004 and late 2003 that ultimately led the Obama administration to get new information in the last six to nine months and then conduct this raid suggests, to me, at least, that we'll never really know what would have happened had these people never been waterboarded.

But the crucial data came well after waterboarding had stopped. And we do know, what we know is that waterboarding, torture, Abu Ghraib, the whole package of policies...

ANDERSON: Yes...

RUBIN: -- of the first President Bush administration did grave, grave damage to the -- the United States, to attitudes toward us and the willingness of other countries to conduct counter-terrorist operations...

ANDERSON: Marc -- all right, Jamie.

RUBIN: -- with us.

ANDERSON: Marc?

MARC THIESSEN, FORMER BUSH SPEECHWRITER, AUTHOR, "COURTING DISASTER": Yes. Well, you know, it's funny, they're -- they're -- before -- after 9/11, there were the 9/11 truthers and now they're the CIA deniers. It's a -- it's a -- there is such incontrovertible evidence that the CIA interrogation program produced actionable intelligence that stopped terrorist attacks. And we now know -- and administration officials have admitted that the detainees in the CIA program gave us the crucial lead that led us to the courier, who led us to Osama bin Laden.

These techniques were -- were effective, they were essential and they worked.

Now, Jamie said something about how waterboarding had stopped. First of all, only three terrorists were ever waterboarded. There was a analogy of enhanced interrogation techniques.

But second, he doesn't understand how intero -- how the enhanced interrogation techniques were used. Enhanced interrogation was never used to get intelligence. Enhanced interrogation was used to bring a detainee from a state of non-cooperation into a state of cooperation. And then they stopped and traditional interrogation techniques were used.

So people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, Abu Faraj al-Libi were in -- were -- underwent certain enhanced interrogation techniques when they were non-cooperative, were brought into a state of cooperation and then they provided the crucial intelligence that led us to Osama bin Laden.

So it's just -- it's a -- it's case closed.

ANDERSON: Case closed, Jamie?

RUBIN: Yes, not exactly. I appreciate Marc's ever -- effort, as a speechwriter, to educate me. But the fact of the matter is that the FBI officials involved with these detainees and one of the CIA officials involved with detainees have made very public their discomfort with the torture policies of the first administration. And the FBI lead interrogators have all made clear that the same information could be gotten without waterboarding.

As I said, we'll never know what would have happened if we didn't waterboard Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. What we do know is that after the waterboarding was stopped, because of its controversy, some small bits of information were obtained from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed...

(CROSSTALK)

RUBIN: -- and al-Libi and then additional information was put together over a period of time.

This idea that, you know, you throw water on somebody's face and then they give up bin Laden's bodyguard and thus we killed him is nonsense. This was a six year process...

THIESSEN: You're -- you're presenting a caricature...

RUBIN: -- of piecing together small...

THIESSEN: -- of me, I'm sorry.

RUBIN: -- small pieces of information...

THIESSEN: (INAUDIBLE).

RUBIN: -- and then gradually getting to the point where...

ANDERSON: Yes.

RUBIN: -- six years later, intelligence officials...

ANDERSON: Jamie...

RUBIN: -- found the location and...

(CROSSTALK)

THIESSEN: Jamie...

ANDERSON: Jamie is making a point...

RUBIN: -- and sent the commandos in to kill him.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Jamie.

THIESSEN: Well, what...

ANDERSON: You're making a point here. I mean there are good old- fashioned techniques by which, one assumes, the CIA found where Osama bin Laden was.

And what's wrong with those sort of techniques, Marc?

And furthermore, let me put this to you.

THIESSEN: First of all...

ANDERSON: Would you be satisfied and happy if American troops were waterboarded and tortured in a theater of war elsewhere?

That's a good question, isn't it?

THIESSEN: Of course not, because they don't -- they are protected by the Geneva Conventions. They are lawful combatants. Al Qaeda terrorists are unlawful combatants and are not protected by the Geneva Conventions. They're not prisoners of war.

But, listen, Jamie, you weren't read into the CIA program, I was. I've seen the actual intelligence that these produced. I've seen the interrogation logs. I've seen the actual intelligence, which you have not seen.

And I can tell you this, in 2001, when the -- before this program went -- when we were hit on September 11, 2001, we didn't even know that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the mastermind of 9/11, much less that he was the operational commander of al Qaeda, who his associates were. And we knew nothing about the courier networks.

It was only after Abu Zubaydah, when the FBI failed to get him to -- to speak, the CIA took over the interrogations. And I know the man you're talking about. He failed to break Abu Zubaydah. And it was only when enhanced interrogation techniques were applied that he started to speak.

That program produced half of the information we had about al Qaeda through 2005. It pre -- and it was only through that program that we learned how they -- how al Qaeda operated, how the courier networks worked, how they moved money, how they moved messages, how they moved operatives. And it was that information that led us to the courier who led us to Osama bin Laden.

Now, you can deny it all you want, you can throw up whatever smokescreens you want to, but these are facts now. And you're -- you're -- you're in there with the -- with the bin Laden -- bin Laden deathers and the -- and the 9/11 deniers when you deny this program.

ANDERSON: Let me give Jamie a last quote there...

RUBIN: Marc...

ANDERSON: -- because you...

RUBIN: -- I want...

ANDERSON: -- there's an accusation...

RUBIN: Thank you.

ANDERSON: But very briefly, Jamie. Very briefly.

RUBIN: Marc is very good at name calling and calling other people names. I didn't know that speechwriters were normally brought into interrogations.

What I know...

THIESSEN: Well, you were...

RUBIN: -- is that the officials who were actually involved...

THIESSEN: (INAUDIBLE)...

RUBIN: -- who were actually involved with the program, FBI officials, CIA officials have asserted over and over again that these methods did not bring advanced information...

ANDERSON: All right.

RUBIN: What we know is President Obama's policies...

THIESSEN: You're dead wrong, Jamie.

RUBIN: -- got us to the point where we captured -- we killed Osama bin Laden. That's what happened under President Obama's watch.

ANDERSON: And we're going to have to leave it there.

Marc, Jamie, we thank you very much, indeed.

That continue -- conversation will probably continue between the two of them, between Washington and New York.

But we've got to take a break.

Thank you, guys.

An historic step forward for -- or a tremendous blow to peace -- two feuding factions sign a deal in Cairo. Why Israel thinks it's a victory for terrorism. We talk with Spokesman Mark Regev, up next on CONNECT THE WORLD.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson in London at just after half past nine for you. Let's get you a quick check of the headlines this hour.

US president Barack Obama has decided not to release photos of Osama bin Laden's body, saying, and I quote, "We don't trot out this stuff as trophies." US commandos shot bin Laden at his Pakistani hide out on Monday, then buried his body at sea.

A Pakistani source tells CNN one of bin Laden's daughters says that she witnessed the killing of her father. That girl and other people left behind in the compound are now being interrogated by Pakistani officials.

The International Criminal Court chief prosecutor accuses Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's government of rape and other crimes against humanity. Luis Moreno-Ocampo says that he'll soon request arrest warrants for the three individuals most responsible. It is not clear whether Colonel Gadhafi is one of those three.

It's a record year for tornadoes in the United States. At least 178 hit over two days last month, the country's largest outbreak ever, surpassing the previous record of 148 tornadoes in 1974. This year, 327 people have been killed.

And in football, Manchester United is set to advance in the Champions League final. They lead Schalke four-one in the second leg of their semifinal match. It's the last minute of the game. They have pushed their lead to six-one on aggregate. Barcelona already, of course, in the final.

And those are the headlines this hour.

Rival Pak -- Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas have signed a reconciliation deal. Now, that agreement is aimed at forming a Palestinian unity government and ending years of disagreement. Senior members of Egypt's new ruling council played a key part in mediating the deal.

Here's what the leaders of Fatah and Hamas had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAHMOUD ABBAS, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PRESIDENT (through translator): We meet today in Cairo to declare to our Palestinian people that we will forever turn the page on factionalism. We wish good tidings from our country to Egypt, which has always handled its national and historic responsibility of supporting the Palestinian people.

KHALED MESHAAL, HAMAS LEADER (through translator): I thank God, who has blessed us with reaching this moment. In the national reconciliation, I will not say that there are two sides, Fatah and Hamas, but rather to all our constituents, we are the Palestinians. We will turn a new page.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, Palestinians flooded the streets of Gaza on the West Bank to celebrate, waving flags and dancing. Palestinians see reconciliation between the secular Fatah and Islamist Hamas as crucial in their push for an independent state.

Well, CNN's Nima Elbagir now joins me from Cairo. Nima, we've heard and seen about the deal. What's in it? What are the details, here?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they've agreed a joint security committee to oversee security arrangements in the territories. They've also put in place a timetable for elections next year.

But most importantly, really, Becky, the most important take away from all this is that they agreed to a cessation of hostilities. They are reunifying the Palestinian factions ahead of their trip to the United Nations this autumn, when they'll be trying to convince the UN to recognize a Palestinian state.

ANDERSON: All right. Stay with me. I want to get a quick reminder for our viewers of how we got to this point. Of course, in 2005, Israel withdrew settlers from Gaza and parts of the West Bank.

Now, Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian elections. And worth remembering that the founding charter of Hamas calls for Israel's destruction. Now, Fatah, a secular Palestinian movement, on the other hand, backs a negotiated peace with Israel.

Then, in 2007, the two came to blows when clashes erupted forces Fatah out of Gaza and leaving Hamas in control of that territory. Since then, tensions have simmered between the two sides with Hamas largely shunned by the international community.

And that brings us to today, an effort to turn the page after what has been a bitter four-year rift. Nima, what was Egypt's new government -- how were they involved? What was their role in all of this?

ELBAGIR: Well, you have to remember that Hosni Mubarak and Omar Suleiman, the former vice president, spent years shutting back and forth trying to bring Fatah and Hamas to where we've arrived to today. And this new interim administration has achieved this seemingly in a matter of weeks.

The Egyptians will also -- have also formed, I'm sorry, I should say - - a committee to oversee the implementation of this reconciliation deal and to make sure that going forward, this doesn't fall back.

But I think equal -- almost equally as significant as the Hamas-Fatah deal is the change that we're seeing in Egypt's policy towards the Palestinian territories and Israel.

Not only have they hosted and played a huge role masterminding the reconciliation today, but they have also agreed to open the Fatah -- to open the Fatah -- sorry, excuse me. To open the Fatah entryway into the Palestinian territories, which really undermines Israel's blockade of the territories and undermines the pressure that Israel can place on the Palestinian territories.

So, really, a sense the Egyptian government is trying to pull back slightly and reflect a hugely vocal public opinion, especially post the uprising, that the Egyptian position needs to be more in support of the Palestinians, Becky.

ANDERSON: All right, thank you for that. Nima Elbagir is in Cairo on what is a very important day.

Israel is against the unity pact. The country says it won't negotiate with a unified government that includes Hamas. Prime Minister Netanyahu is on a trip through Europe right now. Here's what he had to say earlier in London.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINSTER OF ISRAEL: What happened today in Cairo is a tremendous blow to peace and a great victory for terrorism. Three days ago, terrorism was dealt a resounding defeat with the elimination of bin Laden. Today in Cairo, it had a victory.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: All right. Well, the former US president Jimmy Carter thinks that that position is a mistake. In an op-ed for "The Washington Post" earlier, former president Jimmy Carter says it's critical the United States and the international community support what he calls "this decisive effort." And he suggests that peace with Israel rides on this agreement.

Here's what he had to say in an interview earlier with CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And atrocities committed by Hamas and also by Fatah. And of course, on occasion, a lot of Palestinians are killed who are not combatants. So, things happen in a case of serious disagreement.

But this new agreement, in my opinion, is a major step forward that can bring, ultimately, what I've wanted for the past more than 30 years, and that is peace in Israel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev joins me, now, in the studio. The former US president Jimmy Carter saying that it is time to embrace a unity government. So, what's wrong with that?

MARK REGEV, SPOKESMAN FOR ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: The problem is is this is a regression and it's bad for peace. It's bad for reconciliation.

Hamas hasn't changed its positions. The PA appears to be moving towards Hamas. Hamas leaders who gave interviews yesterday and today said openly, Israel should be destroyed. My country has no right to exist.

They continue to say that every Israeli civilian, man, woman, and child, is a legitimate target for their violence. Just last month they shot a missile at a yellow school bus trying to kill school children. They killed one. And then they celebrated that death.

ANDERSON: Mark, this may be a defining moment whether you like it or not. The problem is this, you've got the Jimmy Carters of this world saying that the international community and the US should really embrace what is a decisive effort at this point.

You have no friend in Egypt, for example, anymore who have been part of what is this reconciliation effort. So, I ask you again, is -- whether you like it or not, this may be the way that things are going to go.

REGEV: The international community has been steadfast behind three principles that were articulated by the UN Secretary-General five years ago, that the international community would not deal with Hamas unless it one, recognizes my country's right to exist, two, renounced violence against civilians, terrorism, and three, support the Middle East peace process.

Kofi Annan, the former Secretary-General, put this on the table half a decade ago. Today, they haven't even met one of those three benchmarks articulated by the United Nations. So, today, it's not just Israel that refuses to talk to Hamas, it's Europe, it's Canada, it's the United States, it's Japan, it's Australia.

In fact, in all those countries, Hamas is legally characterized, defined under law, as a terrorist organization. You know that just earlier this week, they were one of the few people on the globe who criticized the elimination of Osama bin Laden.

In fact, Hamas leaders in Gaza called him a martyr, called him a holy warrior, called him a hero of the Islamic struggle. These people are the antithesis of peace and reconciliation.

ANDERSON: I understand this is a difficult time for Israel. Given what we've seen across the region in the last three or four months, the change in the way that countries are being run, the change in the operations, as it were, across the region, what happens next, Mark? How do we get to a Middle East peace process?

REGEV: The only way to get to peace is through talking. Through dialogue. Through negotiations.

ANDERSON: You've got to talk to everybody. You can't choose who you talk to.

REGEV: You can talk to people who believe you have a right to live. We want to engage with the Palestinian Authority. We've been consistently calling to start peace talks with the Palestinian Authority, we -- my prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has said he's willing to go to Ramallah.

ANDERSON: But they don't represent all of the Palestinian people.

REGEV: The trouble is, how can you negotiate with a group that says I shouldn't be there? You can only have peace with someone who accepts the legitimacy of the other side. Hamas says Israel should not be there.

What? We're supposed to negotiate our suicide? Is that what they're proposing? If Hamas changes, if they were to accept the UN benchmarks, those three benchmarks I spoke about a moment ago, that's a different story. But Hamas appears to be stuck in this very reactionary extremist mode.

ANDERSON: Mark, you know more about this than probably anybody I know. You've been -- you live and work, live, and dream this. Do you have any sense that the organization of Hamas will be prepared to change its stance anytime soon? And do you have any optimism that going forward there will be a Palestinian state?

REGEV: As much as I'd like to be able to give you a more optimistic picture, I can't. There's no evidence whatsoever that Hamas is changing in a more moderate direction. On the contrary, the Hamas leader, who praised bin Laden this week, was one who was called by a lot of people in the media the leading pragmatist. That's Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza. And he was praising Osama bin Laden.

The only way forward is through negotiations, and I call upon the Palestinian Authority, I say annul this deal with Hamas, it's against your interests, it's against our interest, it's against peace. Come back to negotiations.

ANDERSON: Does Israel feel isolated in this new Middle East?

REGEV: I think the new Middle East is good. I think democracy and freedom, what we're calling the Arab Spring, is ultimately good, because democracy will be good for peace. But Hamas is the opposite of everything that those young people in Egypt and Tunisia and other parts of the Middle East have been demonstrating for.

What have they done in Gaza since taking over? And a regime that rules with an iron fist, that his destroyed political opposition, that arrests bloggers in the middle of the night, that oppresses women, that kills gays. This is the opposite of Arab freedom.

ANDERSON: All right. We're going to have to leave it there. We thank you very much, indeed, for coming into the studio this evening.

REGEV: My pleasure.

ANDERSON: Mark Regev for you. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: We love our sport in this show, and nothing stirs us more than a good on-field battle. But these clashes can get rough for the players. This week, we've learned just how damaging contact sport can actually be in a lesson that may well be the legacy of Dave Duerson.

Now, he was an accomplished NFL start who spent most of his career with the Chicago Bears in the 1980s. Well, tragically, in February of this year, after increasingly erratic behavior, he took his own life. And in his suicide note, he requested that his brain be studied after his death, because he thought something was very, very wrong.

Well, our Sanjay Gupta reports on the startling medical investigation that has followed.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It turns out Dave Duerson's suspicions were correct. In fact, he did have what is known as CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy. He left this note, he was suspicious of this, which is why he had his brain donated for study.

What CTE is a form of dementia typically related to repeated blows to the head. A picture's worth a thousand words, take a look here.

On the far left, normal brain. On the far right, that's the brain of someone who has diagnosed dementia. In the middle, 50-year-old Dave Duerson. Evidence of those brown plaques and tangles, again, associated with early onset dementia.

Out of 15 NFL players that have been studied so far, 14 of them have had these findings. Out of all the players -- or all the people that have been studied so far, they have found evidence of CTE in people as young as 18 years old.

We had a chance to talk to his ex-wife, Dave Duerson's ex-wife, to find out what he was experiencing in life. Take a listen.

ALICIA DUERSON, DAVE DUERSON'S EX-WIFE: He was saying that, as far as his memory and a lot of his vision was blurred. Then he said he had problems on the left side of his brain. He had problems putting words together. He had some spelling problems.

GUPTA: Now, the triad of symptoms associated with CTE are depression, rage, and memory loss, something that a lot of these players and a lot of these people have complained about.

There is no way to positively screen for this while someone is still living. It's only confirmed at autopsy, although areas of research, now, are focused on trying to screen for this earlier and what to do about it. For example, using high-dose antioxidants, fish oil, things like that.

The NFL culture is starting to change, as well, which is trickling down to college, to high school, and so forth. Moving the kick off line further forward so there are fewer kick backs, one of the most dangerous parts of the game.

And also, importantly, making players get a cognitive baseline exam, sideline exam, if there is concern about a concussion. Having them come out and, if in doubt, sitting them out so they don't get two concussions in a row.

But a little bit of what's going on overall, and certainly what happened to Dave Duerson. Back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Amazing stuff, isn't it? Well, the condition was once thought to be exclusive to boxers, but in recent years, CTE has been blamed for the deaths of athletes in a range of sports, amongst them, Canadian professional wrestler Chris Benoit, who also died in tragic circumstances. He -- in 2007, he killed his wife and son before committing suicide at the age of 40.

Now, renowned National Hockey League brawler Rob Probert died of a heart attack last year, but an examination of his brain revealed that he, too, had the -- it's a difficult word -- degenerative brain disease.

So much research is going into the impact of -- going on into the impact of concussions in sport. The one study group has raised the possibility that Lou Gehrig's disease, named after the famous Yankee slugger, could have been CTE, given his long list of concussions on the baseball field.

Well, boxing, as I said, has long been under the spotlight when it comes to brain injury, but as Don Riddell discovered back in 2009, it's a sport that has come a long way when it comes to protecting its athletes. Have a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DON RIDDELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Michael Watson has always been a fighter.

(CROWD CHEERS)

MICHAEL WATSON, FORMER PROFESSIONAL BOXER: This is my biggest fight. There's nothing like it. It's always on my mind.

RIDDELL: But the fight game almost cost him his life.

PETER HAMLYN, NEUROSURGEON: He was as close to death as I think is possible to get and survive. And he stayed at the point for longer than I've ever known anyone.

RIDDELL: Boxing is one of the simplest sporting duels. To some, it's barbaric. But it's often glamorized. Arguably, the greatest-ever athlete, Mohammed Ali, was a boxer, and some of Hollywood's best productions, like the 1976 mega-hit, "Rocky," are set in the ring.

But even those within the industry say that it's bad for you.

BARRY HEARN, BOXING PROMOTER: I'm still a boxing promoter. I still get excited by a good fight. I still like to see a knock-out. I'm still a fan. But in your heart, you know, really, we shouldn't be doing this.

RIDDELL: Hearn was the promoter of the Chris Eubank Michael Watson world title fight in 1991, in which Watson was almost killed.

WATSON: I took a punch. Everything went blank. When I woke up, I was in a bed. I thought I was dreaming, basically.

HAMLYN: Most of those struggled play out over the first 24 hours. In Michael, it went on for a month of him in intensive care unit.

RIDDELL: Watson was failed by the boxing community. Ringside medical provision was lacking, and doctors say that delayed hospital treatment almost cost him his life. Watson sued the British Boxing Board, won, and was awarded millions in damages.

RIDDELL (on camera): Boxing has come a long way since Michael's injury in 1991. The sport is far better regulated, gyms like this one in London are much better equipped, and the training has become more sophisticated. But the noble art remains the same, and so do the risks.

HAMLYN: Any blow to your head is not going to be good for you, however you sustain it.

RIDDELL (voice-over): So much so that the British Medical Association wants to ban it, but some doctors think that the risks of professional boxing are exaggerated, and others in the medical fraternity, like the British Olympic boxing team's doctor say that studies of amateur boxing show few, if any, links to long-term brain damage.

MIKE LOOSEMORE, OLYMPIC MEDICAL INSTITUTE: And the more recent, well- controlled studies have clearly shown that groups of boxers followed over a period of nine years against a group of matched non-boxers. And at the end of that nine-year period, of the two groups, there was no difference.

RIDDELL: Both Mike Loosemore and Peter Hamlyn say that soccer, American football, figure skating, and horse riding carry similar, if not greater, risks than boxing.

Despite all of his setbacks, Michael Watson has just as many fans now as he ever did in his prime. Once, he could barely talk or lift a finger, but now he's a motivational speaker, and in 2003, he completed the London marathon over six days. By his side at the finish line were two of his closest friends, his last opponent and his doctor.

HAMLYN: I think he's done more for me mentally, emotionally, than I've ever done for him medically.

RIDDELL: The debate continues about whether or not contact sports are safe or should be banned, but the strength of the human spirit will never be dimmed, and people like Michael Watson will always be fighters. Don Riddell, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: A great hero of mine.

Coming up, a hugely popular Facebook game brought to life. How you can play Farmville in the real world.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: All right. Another night, another semifinal battle in the European Champions League. Man United went in as favorites against the German side Schalke. The match not long wrapped up. Let's find out what the result was. Alex Thomas is at Old Trafford. Alex?

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Manchester United are through to their third Champions League final in four years, Becky. They would've had to make unwanted history by throwing away a very strong position here in the second leg and, in truth, they never looked like doing it.

Two-nil up from the first leg in Germany last week, they won four-one on the night to go through six-one on aggregate. Goals from Antonio Valencia and Darron Gibson in the first half, and two more from Anderson in the second half, and just one consolation goal from Schalke means United goes through to the final against Barcelona, a repeat of the 2009 final, UEFA have their dream ticket, a match that sees the likes of Lionel Messi against Wayne Rooney.

Star-studded, the stage is set for Wembley in the UK, here, Becky, in three week's time.

ANDERSON: Oh, and aren't we looking forward to this. Probably two of the best teams in the world, absolutely right. Alex, thank you for that. What a result, and what a match last night, as well. OK, we look forward to that game.

Every user of Facebook has probably been intrigued -- or annoyed at some point, at least -- by updates from their friends playing Farmville -- I certainly have -- to cultivate computerized crops and raise virtual animals.

But now, a real-life farm in England is raising the stakes, allowing people anywhere in the world to pitch in on a real farm. CNN's Phil Han reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHIL HAN, CNN DIGITIAL PRODUCER (voice-over): Mary had a little lamb and, now, you can, too. All from the comfort of your very own home. A farm in Cambridgeshire, England is opening up its barn doors to 10,000 wanna-be farmers.

The best part, no experience required, no 4:00 AM wake up calls, and you don't even need to clean up the pens. Every decision you make will be with a click of your mouse.

Taking inspiration from a popular Facebook game, Farmville, which has more than 45 million users, the My Farm experiment connects 10,000 people to have a say in operating their own 2500 acre piece of land and what to do with the crops and animals on it.

RICHARD MORRIS, FARM MANAGER: So, it'll possibly be growing wheat, barley, or oats. And our cattle, we need to make decisions on the cattle each year. We need to buy a bull in this year for our white cows. But we've also got chickens, we've got pigs, we've got heavy horses. So, there's lots of opportunity for them to make real decisions that have real consequences on this farm.

HAN: If you want to take part, it will cost you $50, but you'll be able to vote once a month on different tasks, as well as learning more about how food is produced.

HAN (on camera): A recent survey here in the UK show that most adults and children have little idea of where food comes form. Two out of five adults couldn't identify what an arable farm is, and one in six didn't know that wheat was a major ingredient in flour.

HAN (voice-over): One of the aims of the experiment is to try and educate a seemingly confused population.

MORRIS: The main aim, they're sort of thinking, is that we want to reconnect the British public with food and the provenance of food and where the food comes from.

HAN: The big question, though, is do people even care, and would they want to take part in operating a real-life farm?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be fun for a little while. Maybe not my future career, but yes, it'd be good, get your hands dirty once in a while.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I was 20 years younger, maybe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, yes. I'm too old for that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're too old.

HAN: But with more than 45 million people around the world interested in virtual farming, it could be your best chance at being part of a real one. But without any of the cleaning up. Phil Han, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson. That is your world connected this evening, thank you for watching. The world news headlines and "BackStory" will follow this short break. Don't go away.

END