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CONNECT THE WORLD

Vicious Attack In Pakistan; ISI Ties To Militants?; Gadhafi Message; Spanish Quake; NATO Secretary-General Briefs US President; Fleeing Turmoil; Somali Militant Group Promises Revenge For Death Of Bin Laden; Helping Africa Tackle Al Qaeda; Chinese Dissident's Art Speaks Loudly; Artists Around The World Speak Out Against Detention Of Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei; Eurovision Song Contest Finalists; Ireland's Jedward; What The Fans Have To Say; Why Eurovision Stands Test Of Time

Aired May 13, 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: A vicious attack on young soldiers in Pakistan. Behind the bloodshed, a familiar name with a new motivation.

Relationship cracking -- the U.S. and Pakistan struggle to recover from a week of serious setbacks.

Also tonight, a world renowned artist and activist gone missing in China -- what fellow artists are doing to protest his detention.

And the Irish act set to take Eurovision by storm -- why Jedward thinks they'll take home the world's kitchest title.

These stories and more tonight as we connect the world.

And a very good evening from London.

The Pakistani Taliban say it's their first act of revenge for Osama bin Laden's death, warning that it won't be their last. Two suicide bombers attacked a military training facility today, killing at least 80 people, most of them young recruits.

Well, a Taliban spokesman explained the target, accusing the Pakistani military of revealing bin Laden's hiding place to the United States.

Well, Stan Grant visited the bombing site today.

He is now back in Islamabad for you this evening -- so, Stan, what did you learn?

STAN GRANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Becky, you know, there have been some people wondering when this would happen, since the killing of Osama bin Laden, when would the militants strike, when would the Taliban strike, what would be the target?

Well, those questions were answered today in a spectacular and a very violent way.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Taliban did this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our Taliban.

GRANT (voice-over): That one word enough to strike terror into people here. The militants claiming responsibility for this carnage, revenge for the killing of Osama bin Laden, they say, and a warning of what is to come.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shooting.

GRANT: Shooting?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shooting.

GRANT (voice-over): "Both men were Taliban. One came on a motorcycle, the other was walking," this man says. "We shot him and he ran and exploded the bomb."

All around, debris -- a testament to the ferocity of the attack. Shattered buildings, blown out cars. Here, blood visible on the ground.

(on camera): And these are parts of a motorcycle. Here you have the mechanism that's used to kick start the bike, the strewn wreckage and this is the badge off the bike itself, a CR-70.

(voice-over): The scores of wounded rushed to nearby Peshawar Hospital, a scene of grief and chaos. The number of dead counted in the dozens in the hours after the attack, rising throughout the day. Witnesses tell of the moments when the dual suicide bombers shattered the morning peace.

"I heard an explosion and I rushed to the road. Four minutes later, there was another one," this man says. "I saw people dead and injured."

(on camera): Even hours after this attack, you can see the military is still very edgy. There's a line of them here. They've been pushing back any of the onlookers who are trying to come down to this scene and especially keeping a very close eye on these buildings along here.

(voice-over): The attackers targeted this military training center. Members of the Frontier Military Police had just finished a nine month program. These vehicles lined up to collect them. This car carrying a prayer that God would make their journey safe.

But it was a journey many would never take. Almost all the dead young recruits -- victims of what some say is Pakistan's double game -- killed by the Taliban to avenge Osama bin Laden just at the very time the military here is denying claims it was hiding him.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

GRANT: You know, Becky, this really goes -- this whole story goes to the Pakistan puzzle. You know, there have been accusations for decades now that the Pakistan military, the intelligence service, have been reaching out to mili -- militant groups, accommodating those militant groups as a -- a line of defense against what they see as the real threat to Pakistan, and that coming from India.

But at the same time, the alliance with the United States has also required Pakistan to go after other insurgent groups and go after them hard. It's a very contradictory situation that, once again, as we've seen, people caught in the crossfire. And today, the military itself caught in the crossfire -- Becky.

ANDERSON: That's right. And we're going to do more on U.S.-Pakistan relations, that breakdown, to a certain extent, in relations, a little later in this show.

Just before you go, cat -- claims and counter-claims doing their rounds in Pakistan itself.

Is it getting any clearer what is -- what is true, what is false, who supports whom, at this point?

GRANT: Yes, well, the -- the parliament today was holding a joint session and trying to drill down on just those questions. We saw the head of the military, General Kayani, and General Pasha, who is the head of the intelligence service, both giving evidence today.

Now, according to local media, General Pasha himself had thrown himself or surrendered himself to the parliament, saying, "I will take responsibility for what has occurred here." And that, of course, still leaving open the question just what did Pakistan know about Osama bin Laden being in the country?

Was there negligence?

Was there collusion?

All of these questions still up in the air.

But as I said, Becky, it is really a paradox, because, on the one hand, there are accusations of the military harboring militants. But the military themselves can point at today's incident and say, look, once again we're seeing our own people paying the price in blood, that they are serious about going after the insurgency.

There's no easy answer when you look at Pakistan -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes. And it's a terrible time and a terrible day there today.

Stan Grant in Islamabad for us this evening.

Well, the -- the raid on bin Laden's compound has pushed U.S.- Pakistani relations to a crisis point. Many Americans suspect that Pakistan's military knew where bin Laden was hiding and perhaps even sheltered him, while Pakistanis are furious that the United States apparently carried out the raid without Pakistani consent.

Well, today, more signs of damaged ties. As Stan was alluding to, a top Pakistani general canceled an upcoming visit to the US. A military source citing, quote, "the prevailing environment."

Well, ongoing U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan are another huge source of contention. Just hours after today's suicide bombers, U.S. drones reportedly went on the offensive, killing four suspected militants in North Waziristan.

Well, Pakistan, of course, is a vital U.S. ally in the war on terror. But many in Washington believe it is playing a double game when it comes to dealing with militants. It's no secret that in the 1990s, Pakistan's intelligence agency nurtured ties to the Taliban in Afghanistan. Well, the same group that would later shelter Osama bin Laden in the lead-up to the September 11th attacks.

Well, Pakistan says the ISI's ties to militants are long gone.

But as Tim Lister now reports, there may be reason for doubt.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TIM LISTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mumbai, India, November, 2008 -- Pakistani militants kill some 170 people in a three-day rampage. U.S. and Indian officials soon suspect the involvement of elements in Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, the ISI. A suspicion confirmed when an American, David Headley, confesses he worked for the Pakistani terror group and former Pakistani intelligence officers to plan the Mumbai attack.

To the ISI, India is the mortal enemy. It funds extremist groups fighting in Kashmir, a region that sparked three wars between India and Pakistan.

According to U.S. intelligence documents published by WikiLeaks, the ISI has helped the Taliban and allies of al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told "60 Minutes" last year --

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Somewhere in this government are people who know where Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda is, where Mullah Omar and the leadership of the Afghan Taliban is. And we expect more cooperation.

LISTER: Just last month, the U.S. top military officer said bluntly that ISI agents were supporting terror groups.

ADM. MICHAEL MULLEN, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: The ISI has a longstanding relationship with the Haqqani network. That doesn't mean everybody in the ISI, but it's there.

LISTER: The believes Siraj Haqqani is behind countless attacks on U.S. troops in Eastern Afghanistan. The Haqqanis are also suspected of bombing the Indian embassy in Kabul three years ago. Nearly 60 people were killed.

So what's the ISI's strategy?

HASSAN ABBAS, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: They don't want to go after Haqqani, Siraj Haqqani especially, in North Waziristan, because they think at any later stage, when there will be some reconciliation efforts with the Taliban or when there will be some peace settlement in Afghanistan, at that stage, they don't want Indian influence to be the defining factor.

LISTER: Pakistan's nightmare, to be sandwiched between two hostile countries. So U.S. money to fight terrorism has gone elsewhere.

LAWRENCE WRIGHT, AUTHOR, "THE LOOMING TOWER": We're giving them more money than we've practically given anybody in history.

And yet, what have they done with that money?

They have used it develop their nuclear program. They've used it to arm themselves against India.

LISTER: But can the United States walk away from an ally that's both unstable and nuclear armed?

ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: The issue now is to actually continue working with the civilian government, with Prime Minister Gilani, with President Zardari, with the civilian forces, who have every incentive to make sure, to the extent they can, that the ISI is not supporting either al Qaeda or Taliban groups.

LISTER: Pakistan says its own sacrifices go unheeded, with thousands of its soldiers and policemen killed in the battle against extremism.

YOUSUF RAZA GILANI, PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER: No other country in the world and no other security agency has done so much to interdict al Qaeda than the ISI and our armed forces.

LISTER: After the discovery in Abbottabad, the U.S. view is they are not doing enough.

Tim Lister, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, the ISI now has a lot of explaining to do over the discovery of bin Laden's compound near Islamabad, of course. A short time ago, I spoke to Imran Khan, a Pakistani opposition politician who some say has the support of the ISI.

I asked him whether the organization was, at best, incompetent or, at worst, complicit in the whole bin Laden affair.

This is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

IMRAN KHAN, PAKISTANI OPPOSITION POLITICIAN: I don't know.

But what I want to know is where did it all go wrong?

How come a country -- people who have -- have given so much sacrifice for this war on terror -- 34,000 people dead, billions of dollars lost to the economy, hundreds of thousands of people re--- displaced in the -- from the tribal areas.

And how come we are in a situation where we are actually blamed as being accomplices?

ANDERSON: What's your best guess then --

KHAN: So I think that's why --

ANDERSON: -- well, let me -- let me just stop you there.

What's your best guess, complicit or incompetent?

KHAN: My best guess is that when the Mujahedeen, who were heroes -- remember, Osama bin Laden was a hero long -- not long ago, a billionaire leaving everything and fighting for the Afghan Mujahedeen against the Russian Soviets.

So -- and -- and there were close connections between the Pakistan agencies and al Qaeda and all the Mujahedeen groups.

So in my opinion, what could have happened is that there would be people within the ISI who probably had some connections.

I cannot understand how the ISI -- remember, ISI is a part of the army. Now, the army has lost thousands of soldiers. The GHQ (ph) has been attacked. Generals have been killed. Commando headquarters have been attacked. ISI buses have been attacked.

So how could it be that the same agency that the army would be protecting the mastermind who's -- who's responsible for so many deaths in the army.

ANDERSON: All right --

KHAN: It doesn't make sense. So --

ANDERSON: Let's talk about where Pakistan is now. It's in a squeeze, isn't it?

On the one hand, you've got the U.S., which is, to all intents and purposes, reevaluating, let me say, its relationship with Pakistan. On the other side, you've got the Pakistani Taliban, the evidence of which, of course, we saw today.

What happens next?

KHAN: Pakistan has to get out of this war. It has to make it its own war. It has to stop taking aid from the US. The government has to stop -- has got to stop to being perceived as a hired gun of the US. The army has -- cannot be any more considered a mercenary army.

So the moment we make it our own war, we'll win it.

At the moment, Pakistan Army is perceived as agents of the US.

So it's causing extremism.

ANDERSON: All right --

KHAN: Extremism is growing in Pakistan, radicalization is getting worse and we're losing the war.

ANDERSON: You say the moment you make it your own war, it's a war you believe can be won.

Is that with or without U.S. money?

KHAN: Without U.S. money, because this is a -- a curse for us. This U.S. money is not reaching the people of Pakistan. People are getting impoverished. Inflation is at the highest. Poverty is rising, unemployment, shortages, gas, electricity.

So -- so this aid is not reaching the people --

ANDERSON: So let me get this clear, Imran.

KHAN: -- it's going into --

ANDERSON: Let me get this clear --

KHAN: -- the tiny ruling elite.

ANDERSON: If you were running the country today, you would not accept the billions in aid that the U.S. sends?

You'd say forget that, let's move on?

KHAN: It's a curse for us, Becky, because we've been taking this aid and the people of Pakistan have lost 34,000 dead. I keep repeating this, a country that had nothing to do with this. And the more -- the aid is not helping the people in the country. It's helping the bank accounts of the tiny rich ruling elite.

We don't need any aid.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: Imran Khan, an opposition politician, talking to me today from London, where he is traveling through, closing out your coverage of Pakistan on the show this evening.

You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.

A defiant message from the Libyan leader -- what Moammar Gadhafi said in an audio message is ahead on this show.

And shivering refugees arrive on a tiny island -- why it's a desperate journey to an uncertain future.

This is CNN.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Two of the most important architects of the NATO campaign in Libya have met in Washington.

Can they prevent a continued stalemate?

Well, a progress report on the mission is coming up on this show.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD from London.

It's 17 minutes past nine.

I'm Becky Anderson for you.

Here's a look at the other stories that we are following for you this hour.

And Moammar Gadhafi has recorded an audio message following reports out of Italy that he had been injured in a NATO bomb attack and had fled Libya. Well, the recording was broadcast on Libyan state television on Friday.

And Nima Elbagir explains its significance for you.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Libyans have been moving very quickly to quash the -- the persistent rumors that Colonel Gadhafi has either been killed or has been wounded and has left Tripoli.

And they didn't give us much notice. A banner came up on state TV and within five minutes, an audio message was being played. It was less than a minute, the message itself. And in it, he said: "I want to tell the -- the crusader aggressors that even if you kill my body, you will never kill me because I will live on in the hearts of the millions of Libyans who support and love me."

He also wanted to send out his condolences to what he said, "the families of the glorious martyrs who will attain everlasting life."

And it's interesting, the Libyans are really fighting these rumors that Gadhafi is either dead or in hiding. And in his statement, he made a point of referring to Babil Aziz's (ph) strike on Thursday to -- to try and date the -- that he was still alive after the strike itself happened.

But the bottom of this audio statement actually isn't that reassuring. It doesn't actually close in their favor that much because even if he is alive, it shows that, at the very least, NATO have driven him into hiding.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: Nima Elbagir reporting from Tripoli for you.

Well, another wave of protests in Syria in what's being called the Friday of free Syrian women.

These pictures are said to be from the flashpoint city of Daraa. But demonstrators have taken to the streets of other towns, as well. And there are reports security forces killed two protesters in Homs.

Well, a hospital official says the wife of the former Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, suffered a heart attack after being detained and questioned. Suzanne Mubarak is said to be in intensive care. She was detained for 15 days, as investigators questioned the couple over allegations of corruption.

Her husband is currently being held at a hospital in Sharm El-Sheikh after suffering a heart attack himself.

Well, a truly shocking story coming out of the Canary Islands today. A knife-wielding man attacked a woman in a supermarket and cut off her head. Security guards caught him and subdued him until police arrived. Police identified the suspect as a Bulgarian and the victim apparent was British.

Authorities say it appears that they didn't have any connection.

Well, grieving relatives joined a funeral mass for four of the nine victims killed in Spain's quake-wracked city of Lorca. Around 2,000 people, including Crown Prince Felipe and his wife gathered to pay their respects in the southeastern city. Thousands of people were left homeless by Wednesday's quake.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIA ROJAS, EARTHQUAKE SURVIVOR (through translator): We are six brothers and sisters living in this city. All of us are without homes because we live in the same neighborhood, La Vina, which was the worst affected, with homes destroyed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Eighty percent of the homes in Lorca were damaged by that quake.

Well, an American teen has become an international cause celebre after his creative way of asking a friend to the prom. It got him suspended from school and banned from the dance.

James Tate taped this cardboard sign to the outside of his high school in Connecticut in the middle of the night last week. Sonali said yes. The school said no. James was suspended for a day for trespassing and told that he can't attend the prom.

But news of his plight has rocked around the world, picking up plenty of support. And the school has apparently been besieged by phone calls urging the head mistress to reconsider the punishment.

So far, she's refusing.

Good luck.

Well, fleeing the violence in Libya -- refugees are risking their lives trying to escape the hell of war. We're going to bring you their stories up next.

And two prominent exhibitions open in London without the artist. Up next, the power of the art world to unite and take a stand.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Welcome back.

Well, it's been nearly a month since NATO warplanes and missiles targeted -- or started, at least -- hitting targets in Libya. NATO's secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, is in Washington and has briefed the U.S. president on how the mission is going.

Our senior White House correspondent, Ed Henry, is there for you this evening.

Do we know what was said today -- Ed?

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, they certainly had the meeting with the NATO secretary-general. They discussed the continued bombing campaign by NATO.

But I think just as interesting, perhaps more interesting, is the fact that the president's national security adviser, right now, is meeting with Dr. Mahmoud Jibril, the opposition leader for the Libyan opposition leader, who had not previously been to the White House.

Now, he had met some weeks back in Paris with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. But this is the first time that he has gotten a meeting here at the White House, not with the president, but pretty much the next best thing, his national security adviser.

And the White House is saying -- they're stopping short, though, of officially recognizing the rebels, if you will, formal recognition. But bringing him to the West Wing of the White House behind me shows that they are edging closer and closer to that and trying to put ever more pressure on Gadhafi.

ANDERSON: Yes. And, of course, time is of the essence here, not just for the Libyan people, but I believe for the Obama administration, as well, which, if I'm right in saying, I think faces a deadline, doesn't it, in -- in its support?

Explain what's going on there.

HENRY: Well, they are now reaching out. We're hearing from aides that the president is reaching out to colleagues, other world leaders in Europe, in particular -- get these NATO allies on board to continue the campaign in Libya. There is an expiration on it. This is not something that they can just do endlessly.

And, you know, the president, at the end of this month, as you know, is going to be hitting four countries in Europe, including a summit in France. And so ahead of that, he's trying to build support to make sure this campaign goes on -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Ed Henry, as ever, always a pleasure.

Thank you for that, out of Washington this evening, the latest story from there.

Well, the conflict in Libya, of course, and the political turmoil across the Middle East has forced many people to flee.

Lampedusa, a small island off the coast of Italy, has attracted waves of refugees -- more than 11,000 migrants, mostly from Sub-Saharan Africa, have reached Italy since the conflict erupted there three months ago, joining 25,000 Tunisians who've made it across since January.

Well, many traveling in unseaworthy vessels have died trying to make the crossing.

Well, shortly after dawn on Friday, this fishing boat arrived on Lampedusa. One hundred and sixty-six passengers all appeared to be migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa.

Well, the U.N. estimates that some 800 migrants have died in recent weeks after their overcrowded boats sank or have become marooned.

Let's find out what's going on, the latest from Lampedusa.

Ivan Watson is on the island for you -- Ivan.

IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, more than 1,200 migrants and refugees from Libya landed here in Lampedusa just today. People telling us that they would do anything, risk everything to make this dangerous passage just to escape the conflict that is raging in Libya right now.

We were down at the port to meet some of these people.

Take a look at this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WATSON (voice-over): This is the third boat crammed with migrants and refugees from North Africa, from Libya, that has arrived here in Lampedusa just today, each one carrying more than 100 people. As you can see, they're crammed into wooden fishing boats here that are open air. And they're traveling in a perilous journey that takes at least 24 hours across the Mediterranean Sea.

Now, the Italians have arranged the Coast Guard, rescue workers, aid organizations and police here to -- to help manage this flow of people coming in.

This tiny island has a population of less than 6,000 people and it has had 30,000 migrants and refugees arrive from Libya and Tunisia in just the last three months.

This used to be a destination for economic migrants coming to try to get better jobs, better housing. But now, many of them say they are fleeing the war in Libya.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes, it's dangerous and also risky. I also risked my life because of, also, the (INAUDIBLE) it should be dangerous for me. But not by the government troops, but by, you know, (INAUDIBLE) it's very dangerous.

WATSON: Three bodies washed up on the shore here from a previous journey just last Sunday that went horribly wrong. These are people requesting refugee status, refugees from conflict across the Mediterranean Sea.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

WATSON: Now, Becky, today, we witnessed a village funeral here in this small community for three people, victims of -- of a boat that floundered right off the coast here last Sunday. Nobody knew the names of these people. They are just some of the hundreds, perhaps more, nameless, faceless people who have perished making this very dangerous journey, either trying to flee conflict or the economic inequities and grinding poverty and unemployment that forces people to take these types of terrible risks with their lives just to try to get to Europe -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Ivan Watson in Lampedusa -- or on Lampedusa with what is an incredibly important story.

Ivan, we thank you for that.

Well, while the world focuses on Afghanistan and Pakistan, across the Sahara, the battle against terrorism is gaining new moment. Up next, we're going to hear how the West is helping to tackle a growing menace.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: At just after half past nine in London, you're back with CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson.

Coming up, helping Africans tackle al Qaeda. We're going to hear how Western troops are training a new fighting force.

Plus, anger in the art world over the jailing of this Chinese dissident. British sculptor Anish Kapoor tells me why he is speaking up for Ai Weiwei.

And get ready for a guilty pleasure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEDWARD, EUROVISION FINALISTS (singing): Hey, hey, here I come, here I come! Dum da dum da dum da dum! Here I come, here I come! Dum da dum da dum da dum!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Stay tuned as we look at the finalists in this year's Eurovision Song Contest.

Those stories are ahead in the next half hour. First, let me get you up to date on the headlines this hour.

The Pakistani Taliban are claiming responsibility for the deadliest attack in Pakistan this year, calling it revenge for the death of Osama bin Laden. Two suicide bombers attacked a military training facility, killing at least 80 people, most of them young recruits.

Well, alive in the hearts of millions. That is what Moammar Gadhafi told the Libyan people in an audio message broadcast on state TV just hours ago. The recording followed reports out of Italy that Gadhafi had been injured in a NATO strike and may have fled Tripoli.

Thousands of protesters rallied in Cairo, some outside of the Israeli embassy urging solidarity with the Palestinians. Other -- another group called for greater rights for Egypt's Coptic Christian minority.

The White House will need a new envoy for the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. George Mitchell is leaving his post after two years, reportedly for personal reasons.

And the raid on Osama bin Laden's hideout was caught on video. The US Navy SEALs were wearing special cameras on their helmets, but a military source says looking at the footage, it's not easy to make out what is going on.

Those are the headlines this hour.

Well, a Somali militant group has promised to take revenge for the killing of Osama bin Laden. At a memorial held on Wednesday, senior members of Al-Shabab said that the death would not stop their attacks against the West.

Security has been increased at a number of places across the region, including at the Kenyan home of US president Barack Obama's step- grandmother.

Meanwhile, on the western tip of Africa, the battle against al Qaeda is gathering pace. Jane Ferguson traveled to Senegal, where the West is training North African forces to tackle a growing threat.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(GUNSHOTS)

JANE FERGUSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are North Africa's elite fighters, from countries across the Sahara, such as Mali, Nigeria, and Mauritania, sent here to Senegal to learn from the West's best.

American, Canadian, and European special forces are teaching impoverished nations to fight a growing menace. The vast, empty sands of their countries are hosting al Qaeda's African offshoot, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, perhaps better known by the acronym AQIM.

The men who will be sent to hunt the terrorists train for weeks, conducting mock raids and repeating attacks. It's a tough battle, especially when resources are low.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With these guys, it's just limited resources that they have, and their ability to train with lack of resources. This is a new unit that we've stood up in the last few months, and they're not operational at this point, but the end state is, hopefully, they will be one day.

FERGUSON: Their trainers won't give their names, as they are all still active in the special forces. But this is a rare, inside glimpse of an otherwise unknown front in the fight against terrorist groups.

(GUNFIRE)

FERGUSON: While much of the world focuses on Afghanistan and Iraq, the battle against terrorism across the Sahara is crucial.

FERGUSON (on camera): Countries in the African Sahel have long had a problem with banditry and drug smuggling. However, now what's causing increasing concern to the wider community is al Qaeda here. Al Qaeda in Africa are able to operate in the wide open spaces, and kidnappings of Westerners are on the rise.

FERGUSON (voice-over): It's a lucrative business model. Ransoms for snatched Westerners are often met, providing millions of dollars in revenue.

CHRISTOPHER SCHMITT, LIEUTENANT COLONEL, HEAD OF OPS, US MILITARY IN NORTH AFRICA: If we just think about it in a pure business model, the hostage for ransom system that AQIM is doing is, it's building up its franchise with greater capabilities and capacities.

To train militarily takes a lot of money, so all those sort of things do need resources, to the extent by which it's funding the al Qaeda network at large.

FERGUSON: Countries like Mali and Mauritania have vast open spaces with little government presence. The trainers teach the recruits that reclaiming al Qaeda safe havens will require civilian cooperation.

African troops move from shooting practice to treating the sick. Sometimes the battle for hearts and minds requires showing that you can take care of your own.

SCHMITT: I think AQIM has -- has a foothold, or has a -- has an ability to have safe haven in northern Mali and does a fantastic job of interacting with the people. It probably provides some revenue to the people. It probably provides opportunities, maybe even jobs as a result of their activities.

FERGUSON: This land is feared by some as Europe's back door for terrorists. But cooperation here is not complete. Critics point out the absence of French or British trainers. Algeria, where AQIM began, does not take part.

The US military in the Sahara says it does not conduct any attacks on al Qaeda itself, here. And turning these African troops into an effective counter-terrorism measure could take years. The balance of power between Sahelian governments and al Qaeda will depend on it.

(GUNSHOTS)

FERGUSON: Jane Ferguson for CNN, Thies, Senegal.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Next on CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN, the art world is standing up for human rights in China. On CONNECT THE WORLD, more on the calls for artists to Ai Weiwei's release as his exhibitions open in London without him.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Two exhibitions of world renowned artist Ai Weiwei opened this week in London without him. Ai Weiwei, he was also an activist, was detained by Chinese authorities in Beijing more than five weeks ago. He hasn't been seen or heard of -- from since. As Atika Shubert reports, his art and his absence are speaking loudly.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the 18th century courtyard of London's Somerset House, the animals of Ai Weiwei's "Zodiac Heads" installation are a silent testament to the artist.

He was supposed to be here for the opening, but he is in jail, arrested in April by Chinese authorities for alleged economic crimes. It has been more than a month. No one has heard from him.

GWYN MILES, DIRECTOR, SOMERSET HOUSE: This is a sort of bittersweet occasion. We're terribly proud of this installation, but we fully expected Ai Weiwei to be here to unveil the sculpture, and we were going to have public lectures and we were going to do a lot of work with him.

And so we're very, very upset that he's not able to be here. And we're also upset because, actually, to have someone taken off the street and no contact with them for over a month is a very upsetting thing to happen.

SHUBERT (on camera): But his arrest simply seems to have fueled more demand for his work. Here in London, there are now several art spaces featuring his installations, and these posters with his quotes on it will be plastered across the city.

And at each of these exhibitions, there is the same demand. Release Ai Weiwei.

SHUBERT (voice-over): Ai Weiwei's themes of political and social change run throughout the Lisson Gallery, since 1967, a showcase for young artists with attitude.

These Han Dynasty vases are more than 2,000 years old, but covered in modern industrial paint. This surveillance camera is crafted from a single piece of marble and presented like a classical bust, as are these discarded doors, modeled after demolition sites that Ai Weiwei witnessed in Beijing.

NICHOLAS LOGSDAIL, LISSON GALLERY: In a way, they become like monuments to the past. Monuments to something that has been a symbol of this extraordinary process, incredibly fast process of change in China, where whole towns and villages have been demolished and rebuilt.

SHUBERT: But it was the Tate Modern's vast "Turbine Hall" that first introduced many in London to the Chinese artist. One hundred million sunflower seeds of hand-painted porcelain, each one unique.

In an interview with CNN late last year, Ai Weiwei admitted his outspoken views and provocative art put him on a collision course with Chinese authorities, but with no regrets.

AI WEIWEI, ARTIST: Art is not just decoration. Art is not just atoms of the collector's habit. Art is about social change. It's about how we define our time and our culture.

SHUBERT: As the audience for his work grows, however, it seems any attempt to silence the artist simply gives more voice to his art. Atika Shubert, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, TV viewers in China won't have seen that report. Earlier, we filmed our output in Beijing, and well, just take a look at what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MONITA RAJPAL, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. The art world is calling for galleries and museums around the world to shut their doors for a day in support of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. Ai Weiwei, who's also a political activist, was detained by Chinese authorities in Beijing more than five weeks ago and --

(CUT TO BLACK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Blackout. Coverage of Ai Weiwei is censored in China. Well, many international artists are coming out in support of Ai Weiwei. British sculptor Antony Gormley tells Channel Four News Ai's detention is a "disaster" for the art world and says "state barbarism will not be silenced."

Well, Danish sculptor Jens Galschlot has petitioned his own government to officially demand Ai's release with signatures from other Danish artists, as well.

And British sculptor Anish Kapoor has called on museums around the world to close in protest. He has dedicated his latest installation in Paris to Ai.

Earlier, I got the chance to talk to Anish Kapoor. Here's his reaction to the detention.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANISH KAPOOR, ARTIST: I think it's important that there is a solidarity amongst artists. I don't know Ai Weiwei at all. But I feel that it's important that I -- that I show my hand.

ANDERSON: What do you think as the art world you can do?

KAPOOR: China will baffle us all in the sense that its economic power is so enormous that it will win in the end. So why it feels the need to silence an artist is beyond me. I mean, of course, he's not alone. There are writers and other artists who have been taken away as well.

We have to, I think, try and persuade the Chinese government that there is another way.

ANDERSON: Some will say that Ai Weiwei should know better than to go up against a regime that doesn't, to a certain extent, quite know what to do with him at this point.

KAPOOR: Well, what has he done? Let's just look at that for half a second. He has recorded the deaths of children, mostly, and some adults through neglect, let's say, or administrative complication, perhaps corruption.

What he's done, I -- the way I see it is to let us know that every life matters, that it matters that people die for inconsequential reasons.

He hasn't even asked for things to be taken into account. He hasn't brought anyone to book, so to speak. But to -- just to record. Now, this is the kind of thing artists do all the time.

Artists, fundamentally, are not dangerous. What we do is act as a kind of conscience of the nation, of the world, or whatever that is.

ANDERSON: The deputy foreign minister called the recent protests about Wei's -- Weiwei's incarceration "condescending." How would you respond to that?

KAPOOR: Did he really say that? Condescending to whom? I find that hard to believe, really. I think we have to record our protest at the sad disappearance of our fellows everywhere all the time.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Anish Kapoor speaking to me earlier from his studios in South London. And after that interview, he told me that he in no uncertain terms would be reticent to show his own work in China anytime soon if Ai's detention continues.

Well, for millions across Europe, it's a must-watch program. I'm talking, of course, about Eurovision, the song contest you either love or despise.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EDWARD GRIMES, JEDWARD: Behind every successful person is a pack of haters!

JOHN GRIMES, JEDWARD: And you've got to realize that you've got to go out and do it for all your fans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: These guys star in it, but will they win it? We take a look at this year's favorites up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Sweden takes to the stage in 1974 and belts this out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC - "WATERLOO" BY ABBA)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, the rest, of course, is history. "Waterloo" was a hit, and Abba went on to become one of the world's most famous bands.

Well, arguably, it was Abba that made Eurovision famous. "Waterloo," after all, remains the most popular song in the contest's 55-year history. And ever since, acts from across Europe have been chasing the same glory.

The results are a glitzy and, at times, cringe-worthy mosh pit of song and dance that has become one of our guiltiest pleasures. Phil Han begins our preview of tomorrow night's annual spectacular.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHIL HAN, CNN DIGITAL PRODUCER: From the beautiful to the completely ridiculous, Eurovision has been around for more than half a century and doesn't show any signs of slowing down. The annual singing contest is between countries in Europe and is one of the most-watched events on television.

Each country gets to perform an act, no matter how weird or wacky it might be. Then, after each semifinal, countries around Europe can vote for their favorite groups.

Now, this year's tournament is in Dusseldorf, Germany, and has already had its fair share of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Tomorrow night is the big event, it's the final. And here's a look at the 25 countries that made it through. Now, this is a title that not only comes with a lot of prestige, but could also give a country a major economic boost.

Let's take a look at some of the frontrunners. You may have heard of these twins. It's Jedward, and these Irish twins became famous after "The X Factor." And they're also making big headlines at this year's Eurovision with the song "Lipstick."

(MUSIC - "LIPSTICK" BY JEDWARD)

(MUSIC - "I CAN" BY BLUE)

HAN (voice-over): In the UK, boy band Blue, well, they're back with a new song called "I Can." Now, the UK hasn't won in more than 30 years, but this year, spectators are expecting that the UK could have a good chance with Blue.

(MUSIC - "I CAN" BY BLUE)

HAN: And in Sweden, Eric Saade's song "Popular" has already become a major hit on YouTube with more than 3 million views.

(MUSIC - "POPULAR" BY ERIC SAADE)

HAN: And finally, this is Moldova's Zdob si Zdub. They're a small country, and their wacky outfits are also expected to compete quite heavily at tomorrow's final.

(MUSIC - "SO LUCKY" BY ZDOB SI ZDUB)

HAN (on camera): Well, that's a look at some of this year's frontrunners. If you want to find out how you can vote, just visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/CNNconnect. I'm Phil Han for CNN in London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, reports are that the excitement is building in Dusseldorf, and at least in camp Ireland. A little earlier, I caught up with John and Edward, better known as Jedward and asked them how it felt to have at least made it to the finals. This is what they said.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

J. GRIMES: God, it's so cool to see that we're in Eurovision, the finals, 2011. We're so excited, we can't wait, it's going to be awesome. Think about it, OK? The whole world is going to see --

ANDERSON: Yes, but do you have a chance of winning?

J. GRIMES: Yes!

E. GRIMES: We're going to win this.

J. GRIMES: Totally!

E. GRIMES: We can totally do this. The thing is that me and John, we get to do everything together, so it's really cool, we get to experience everything together, we get to do everything good.

ANDERSON: All right, listen. Are you the biggest celebs out there in Germany, do you think?

J. GRIMES: Well, we're the ones with a hundred fans outside the hotel. Guys, OK, we are like the most, who have the most fun, and we're the most excited. We bring loads of energy to the stage.

E. GRIMES: And most of all, we're going to sew up the competition this year, but I think me and John, we just have loads of fun, and it's all about creating a vibe on stage and being -- fun and energetic.

J. GRIMES: I think the really, really cool thing about me and Edward is that you can feel our heart beats. Boom boom, boom boom.

(AUDIO GAP)

ANDERSON: Now, listen, listen, listen, listen. How does it feel to know that you, whilst you are so loved by many, it's got to be said, there's quite a lot of people who don't like you guys very much.

E. GRIMES: Yes, I think it's cool to have haters and people don't like you because then they both clash and then it makes you who you are. It's like Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears --

J. GRIMES: Jonas Brothers. They all have haters.

E. GRIMES: Behind every successful person is a pack of haters!

J. GRIMES: And you've got to realize that you've got to go out and do it for all your fans. And when you go onto YouTube, sometimes people will just like your videos and it means, "This I like."

ANDERSON: Did you watch Eurovision when you were growing up, boys?

E. GRIMES: Yes, we used to watch it every single year, with like our grandparents, and we can't wait, because our family are back home, and some of our family and here.

J. GRIMES: And it's fun watching Eurovision every year because sometimes you don't understand what the people are saying, and -- but you just know the beat of the song.

E GRIMES: I think it's really exciting, because in Eurovision, every performance is totally different, and like, the winners always really, really cool.

J. GRIMES: It's so funny, OK? If we won the competition, we don't know what the theme would be like. Feel your hair or share the hair. Spike your hair like Jedward twins.

ANDERSON: All right. We're backing you boys, so give us a song.

JEDWARD (singing): She's got a lipstick --

(AUDIO GAP)

JEDWARD (singing): -- lipstick on it, hit and run, then I'm gone. Check my collar, collar, hey, hey, hey! Here I come, here I come! Dum da dum da dum da dum! Here I come, here I come! Dum da dum da dum da dum! Hit and run --

(AUDIO GAP)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Jedward for you, and I promise, we didn't press the mute button, there. It was actually a slight audio glitch during the interview.

Well, love them or hate them, Jedward is the kind of act that makes Eurovision must-see television for millions of viewers around the world. We're going to get you just a taste of what some of the fans who will be watching and ready to vote are thinking.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want France to win, and I want France to win because I think Vassili's song is very brilliant, he has stunning voice and an amazing song.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm really rooting for Finland. As a Finn myself, I really hope they win, obviously. But I think Paradise Oscar has a really good number. It's a very simple song, no crazy show tricks. He actually wrote the song himself. He's only 20 years old, a student from Helsinki.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I would personally like to see Ireland winning. Jedward are doing a remarkable job on stage. They are the Eurovision kitsch that we would love to hate after Eurovision. They bring Eurovision ecstasy on stage and they make us all want to dance, want to party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: They're mad for it. Well, one man who has been following the contest very closely up to this point is the blogger and "Time" magazine reporter William Lee Adams. He's in Dusseldorf covering the extravaganza and explained a little earlier why he thinks Eurovision has managed to stand the test of time.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIAM LEE ADAMS, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Oh, it's absolute madness. People are incredibly happy. You're not allowed to be unhappy here. It's all glitter and sequins and tight pants.

Last night at the semifinal, people were wearing national costumes, so the Israelis had photographs of Dana International, the world's most famous transsexual singer and their contestant on their chest.

The Irish men were wearing green, white and orange. There were Swedes carrying yellow and blue flags. And even Australians carrying inflatable kangaroos.

ANDERSON: Who's going to come away with the big win, my love?

ADAMS: Oh, who's going to win?

ANDERSON: Yes.

ADAMS: Well, I'm hoping that Ireland will bring it. In the past, the demographic of Eurovision was old people, grandmothers in Transylvania. But now, I think it's young, edgy, and hip, and a group like Jedward really reflects that. They're definitely going to get the teenybopper vote.

Another favorite of mine, though, is Hungary. She really gives self- interrogation rhythm by exploring the theme of whether a woman can live in the shadow of her man. Some of her questions are, "What about my needs? What about my dreams?" That's something we can all ask ourselves.

ANDERSON: Listen, Will, is it anything about the song and the talent, or is it all about the act with Eurovision?

ADAMS: Well, it's interesting. I think that often times, the best song does win. But an act that is fantastic but has really poor vocals can still win.

And this brings us back to Jedward. They're really sweet boys, but bless them, they cannot sing. But fortunately, they have really strong backup vocalists, and they have a fantastic act. A Michael Jackson inspired kind of military coats covered in sequins, huge shoulder pads, taking us back to the 80s, big hair that actually inspired my own.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: And you look gorgeous for it. Listen. Why is it, do you think, that Eurovision is so popular not just across the continent, but globally?

ADAMS: I think you can look at it on two levels. On one level, it's just a frothy, fun talent contest like "American Idol" or "The X Factor."

But then, you can also mine the depth of these performances and extract meaning. For instance, in Portugal this year, they chose an act called the Men of Struggle, who sang a song protesting the austerity measures that Prime Minister Jose Socrates was trying to enact.

That song became an anthem for an entire nation and is widely credited with bringing down the government back in March.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: I don't think Will's being serious with me.

Wherever you are watching, do enjoy Eurovision if indeed you are watching. Thank you for watching this show. That is your world connected this Friday evening here out of London. The world news headlines and "BackStory" will follow this short break. Don't go away.

(MUSIC , "LIPSTICK" BY JEDWARD)

(MUSIC , "POPULAR" BY ERIC SAADE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END