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CONNECT THE WORLD
Damage to Talks between America and the Taliban; Investigation into the Death of Gilles Jacquier; Sports Roundup; The Line-Up for the First Tennis Major; Covert War Against Iranian Nuclear Scientists? Israel Denies Involvement in Killing of Iranian Scientist; Haiti Two Years Later; Signs of Progress in Haiti But Much Work Still To Be Done; Big Interview With BAFTA Rising Star Nominee Tom Hiddleston; Parting Shots of War House London Premier
Aired January 12, 2012 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: It is absolutely inconsistent with American values, with the standards of behavior that we expect from our military personnel.
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BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: As the U.S. vies to identify the Marines in this video desecrating bodies in --Afghanistan, tonight, the damage those soldiers may have done to potential talks between America and the Taliban.
Live from London, I'm Becky Anderson.
Also this hour, it sounds like a clock from a spy movie, but this is real life -- who is assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists in broad daylight?
And two years after a massive earthquake devastated Haiti, Anderson Cooper returns to the country and finds a lot of work still needs to be done.
But this hour here on CONNECT THE WORLD kicking off, though, with this -- "disgusting," "barbaric," "utterly deplorable" -- some of the words used today describe a video that appears to show U.S. Marines abusing corpses in Afghanistan. This is an image from the video that surfaced online. It shows men in U.S. Marine gear urinating on three bodies, possibly Taliban fighters.
The U.S. military is promising a full investigation, now saying it's identified two of those Marines.
Both the military and the U.S. civilian government are condemning the incident in -- and I quote -- "the strongest possible terms."
Well, the video surfaces at a critical time for U.S. relations with Afghanistan. The U.S. is trying to broker peace talks between the Karzai government and the Taliban in the hopes of ending more than a decade of war.
So what might this video mean to those nascent talks?
What sort of impact may it have?
CNN's Nick Payton Walsh joins us now live from Kabul -- Nick, how much damage has been done at this point?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's still early stages, Becky.
But it's pretty clear, after a decade here, America is trying to withdraw the majority of its troops and create conditions on the ground for that whilst negotiate a more permanent presence for the remainder.
And incidents like this have the capacity to infuriate the kind of Afghan sector of population they're trying to win over, and, of course, give their enemy political capital, and, at the same time, provide potential fuel for the insurgency.
WALSH (voice-over): The U.S. Marines endured some of their worst losses in Afghanistan's Helmand Province. Text posted with the video identified a sniper unit recently deployed in Northern Helmand, but not much else is clear.
(on camera): The video you're about to see is hard to watch. But listen to how casual -- almost cheerful -- the men sound, as though they're recording a trophy video rather than evidence of a possible war crime.
(voice-over): There are some clues -- the helmets worn here adapted to suit the sniper rifles they hold, consistent with the claim they're a Marine sniper unit. The dress of the men on the ground likely Afghan. All of it sparking universal condemnation.
LT. GEN. ADRIAN J. BRADSHAW, ISAF: A video recently posted on a public Web site appears to show U.S. military personnel committing a disgusting act with insurgent corpses. Any acts which treat the dead, enemy or friendly, with disrespect, are utterly unacceptable and do not represent the standards we expect of coalition forces.
WALSH: President Hamid Karzai's spokesman called it "simply inhuman and condemnable in the strongest possible terms," calling for severe punishment. The Taliban condemned this barbaric act of American soldiers and called it "an action against every human and ethical value."
For once, rare agreement between with ISAF, the Afghan government and the Taliban.
WALSH: I should point out there are few things, really, you can do to offend Muslims more than desecrate a corpse like this. Dead bodies held in a huge level of sacredness in this particular faith, particularly here in Afghanistan -- bathed quickly, buried quickly, post-mortems forgiven. And, actually, some parts of the faith believing that, in fact, a corpse can still hear what's going on around it.
So, of course, in this particular culturally context here, an action which would be despicable globally particularly offensive to Muslims -- Becky.
ANDERSON: You've been on the ground for some time there covering the story out of Kabul for us. You'll know a lot of people in the city.
When this video surfaced, what, 24, 36 hours ago, Nick, what was the immediate reaction from those you spoke to?
We've heard the administration. We've heard the Karzai administration and others.
What was the reaction from people on the ground?
WALSH: Well, it's been on Afghan TV. And those who've seen it were, of course, were disgusted by it, pretty much universally, in some ways. And I think, also, it's reminded people here of their fatigue at the NATO presence, what hasn't come out of 10 years of having American troops here.
But I think, on the other side, too, it's important to point out, it hasn't really percolated through Afghan society yet. We've still got, you know, a society here where televisions aren't widespread, where the Internet is an incredibly rare phenomenon. So the danger is the weeks and days ahead, as this slowly, perhaps through misinformation, spreads through society, people get the message, or the wrong message, and we may then see protests or some kind of ramifications.
But today we've heard the immediate political fallout, what NATO have to say, what the palace have to say, what the Taliban want to make out of this. We've still got to really see what public reaction is going to be -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Yes, fascinating stuff.
Nick, as ever, always a pleasure.
Thank you very much, indeed.
Nick Paton Walsh for you Kabul.
Well, statements coming from the U.S. military today leave no doubt that they believe the video is authentic. We are now learning that the Marines have identified the unit involved, and even some of the individuals.
Barbara Starr following that angle for us from the Pentagon -- Barbara, what do we know at this point?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Becky, the U.S. Marine Corps is not all that large an organization, so when this video surfaced, it was very likely these men were, in fact, going to be identified very quickly. That is what is beginning to happen now.
Two of those participating in the video, the Marines say they have their names, they know who they are.
They also believe this is a unit, a sniper team that deployed from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, on the U.S. Eastern Coast to Afghanistan last year. The unit is now back home.
So they're going to be able to get a hold of these people very quickly, if they're all still on active duty in the Marine Corps.
A lot of condemnation from top leadership in Washington today, starting with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
Some of the strongest words, though, came from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Have a listen.
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HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I want to express my total dismay at the story concerning our Marines. Anyone, anyone found to have participated or known about it, having engaged in such conduct, must be held fully accountable.
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STARR: and they -- that accountability is going to come through a series of investigations now, Becky. Both the Marine Corps and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service have opened investigations into what has happened here -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon for you with the latest on that part of the story.
Well, the disturbing footage -- I don't have to remind you of this -- will bring up video, the idea in your mind, of previous abuses by U.S. troops. Of course, perhaps none as infamous as the scandal at Abu Ghraib, the U.S. military's image around the world took a huge hit when pictures emerged back in 2004 with troops abusing inmates at the Iraqi prison. There are now fears that the new image of apparent abuse by troops in Afghanistan could trigger another round of anger and resentment across the Muslim world.
So far, the incident doesn't appear likely to derail a U.S. effort to negotiate peace in Afghanistan, though, at least from the Taliban's perspective.
Let's get some thoughts on that from Michael Semple, who's a leading expert on the Taliban and Afghan politics.
He's a fellow at Harvard University's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, joining us tonight out of Paris.
Karzai's lot, Michael, say that they will -- and I quote -- have a very, very bad impact on peace efforts, the videos I'm alluding to here. While the Taliban say the shocking video won't harm peace talks.
Interesting divergence of opinions, wouldn't you say?
MICHAEL SEMPLE, CARR CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS POLICY, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: This is one of the interesting things that we've been observing over the past month, that in the public comment about the -- the peace process over the past month, by far, the most responsible and restrained party has been the Taliban. It seems that they have taken a decision that they want to get involved in some kind of political engagement. And they are pursuing that systematically.
ANDERSON: Behind closed doors and out of the glare of the media, just how long have peace talks been ongoing?
And how far have they got at this point?
SEMPLE: Well, people have been, you know, speculating and talking about them for years and years. But really, we're about, you know, one year into the contact. But, you know, we're, you know, really in the -- in the first month of an acknowledged process, the first month where the Taliban leadership are having to live with the situation of after years and years of saying that they would, you know -- you know, fight without talking until the last foreign troop left.
Now there they are acknowledging that they are actually, you know, involved in an engagement, then, the next stop, of course, they were told to go ahead with opening a political office.
So we are now in uncharted territory.
ANDERSON: So this political office would be in Qatar. We are looking at the U.S. negotiating and -- and helping these -- these talks between the Karzai government and the Taliban.
Where or what, at this stage, are the red lines in those negotiations?
SEMPLE: Well, yes, I think you're -- you're jumping a little bit too far ahead. There's still a very serious question to be answer as to who will actually be involved in the -- the discussions and then negotiations over the future of Afghanistan. I think it's not quite as simple as just the Afghan government sitting down with the -- the Taliban. There are, you know, many different interest groups in Afghanistan who are going to be -- expect to be in -- involved in it.
So I think we will see a certain amount of maneuvering in coming months, you know, as they -- they work out who are all going to be involved.
And they may not initially agree to sit in the same room.
ANDERSON: What's the end game here, Michael?
SEMPLE: Well, if it works -- and I don't think anybody is really giving guarantees that you get a negotiated outcome out of -- out of this - - if it works, there's a cease-fire in which they -- the Taliban agree, you know, not to carry on trying to -- to kill their way to power. And then there is a political agreement between the different Afghan parties, whereby they agree to -- to live together in the -- in one Afghan system, which will require a whole set of compromises, which have not yet been mapped out.
On a day that the U.S. is mounting an investigation into exactly who the Marines were who desecrated dead bodies in Afghanistan. Many believe those dead bodies were Taliban bodies. Your expert this evening talking about just what sort of that video may have on what are nascent peace talks between the Karzai government and the Taliban at present.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from London.
Still to come, the work of a motorbike hit man in broad daylight in Tehran. The U.S. denies Washington had anything to do with it.
So, who's responsible?
Plus, the streets are still littered with debris. The landscape is still scarred by tents two years on from what was a devastating earthquake. What's being done to help Haiti.
And at the head of the Hollywood cavalry, stay with us for my big interview with the young British actor whose star is well on the rise.
ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.
It's six minutes past nine in London.
This is the world's news leader.
Japan has pledged to buy less Iranian oil, boosting the U.S. campaign to pressure Iran over its nuclear program.
Of course, the country's finance minister announced the move following a meeting with the U.S. Treasury secretary, Tim Geithner.
Have a listen to this.
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TIMOTHY GEITHNER, SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: We are working very closely with Europe and with Japan and with countries around the world to substantially increase the amount of pressure we bring in Iran.
And we are exploring ways, as I said, to cut off the central bank from the international financial system and to reduce the earnings Iran derives from its oil exports.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, the meeting comes at a time of heightened tensions between Iran and the West. On Wednesday, an Iranian nuclear scientist was killed in Tehran, the third murder of an expert in recent years. The U.S. has categorically denied any involvement.
So who might have carried out that assassination?
Much more on that coming up in about 15 minutes time on this show.
A look now, though, at some of the stories, other stories connecting our world tonight.
And the French foreign minister has demanded the whole truth from Syrian authorities over the death of a French journalist. Arab League monitors are investigating the mortar attack that killed Gilles Jacquier in the city of Homs on Wednesday. The state-run news agency has blamed terrorists for his death. But an opposition group says that the shells were fired by security forces.
Well, CNN's Nic Robertson joins me now live from Damascus.
The -- the facts of this story are still very, very murky.
What more have you learned today, if anything -- Nic?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Precisely nothing. We do know that, obviously, that the French ambassador went to Homs last immediately as he got the information that Gilles had been killed, that he went back today to help begin repatriation of his body, that the Arab League investigators have been conducting an investigation. The Arab League in Cairo, at their headquarters, have said that there would be an interim report on that investigation tonight. The head of the Arab League mission here this morning told me that no, they -- the Arab League wasn't involved in an investigation. So maybe some confusion there.
But new information from any quarter, from anybody yet, so far, on the investigation -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Nic, you've been on the ground now for some time, bringing us what is rare footage from inside the country. And this is a story we've been reporting on now for some nine months.
The Arab League have been on the ground for, what, two, two and-a-half weeks at this point. They are already, we are hearing, at least, from some parties, getting pretty fed up with the -- the sort of access they're being denied, as it were, when they're supposed to be there on the ground monitoring what the authorities are doing.
Have you spoken to people from the Arab League?
What's your sense of that mission at this point?
ROBERTSON: I think the mission right now really wants to get its job done, to meet its mandate, to give a report on the 19th of this month, that the leader of that mission does not want any kind of comments that are going to jeopardize his mission whatsoever.
I talked to him today about attacks on the -- on his monitors. There have been at least 11 injuries so far. And he denied to me that there hadn't been any attacks whatsoever. Three of the mission have -- have quit the mission.
Despite that, we saw more members of the Arab League arriving today in their orange fluorescent tops to -- to join the mission.
So it does seem, at this moment, that the people who remain here are very, very tight-lipped. But those that are leaving are criticizing the mission, they're saying that it's weak, ineffective and it's not stopping the government here killing civilians. That's the main criticism.
And, of course, the Arab League here just trying to -- the monitors themselves caught in the middle, just trying to get on with the job.
ANDERSON: Yes. Nic Robertson is on the ground for you in Damascus this evening.
Nic, we thank you for that.
Well, North Korean state media says the body of late leader, Kim Jong- il, will lie in state permanently in the same Pyongyang palace that houses the corpses of his father, Kim Il-sung. The regime also plans to build a statue of Kim Jong-il and put up towers across the country to symbolize what it calls the leader's immortality.
The pro-democracy party of Aung San Suu Kyi says it will participate in upcoming elections in Myanmar on -- in April. Thursday's announcement coincides with a meeting between the Nobel Peace Prize winning and U.S. diplomats, as seen here.
Meanwhile, the government announced a peace deal with the Karen National Liberation Army, a group that's been fighting for autonomy for Myanmar's Karen ethnic minority.
And a new species of frog has been found in Papua New Guinea that is so tiny, that it has gone completely undetected by scientists until now. Just seven millimeters long. Researchers found it among leaves on the forest floor. For perspective, look how comfortably it sits on a U.S. dime, a coin about the size of a 10 P piece.
Scientists say it is not only the smallest frog ever discovered, it's the smallest vertebrate.
Well, the world's best tennis players have gathered in Australia ahead of what is the year's first grand slam, of course. Denmark's female player, Caroline Wozniacki, is the world number one.
But will she be when the tournament begins?
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ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We've heard there may be somebody who's alive buried in there. People on the streets say...
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ANDERSON: Two years ago, he was one of the first journalists on the scene following Haiti's devastating earthquake. In just 20 minutes, my colleague, Anderson Cooper, tells us about this return to a country struggling to recover.
ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live on CNN. I'm Becky Anderson.
Twenty-four minutes past nine for you here in London.
The year's first tennis major is less than four days away and the draw, well, it should be pretty wide open, at least from the women's side.
Pedro Pinto joining us now with -- was it a giant missed opportunity (INAUDIBLE) the giants.
PEDRO PINTO, CNN "WORLD SPORT" ANCHOR: That was great.
ANDERSON: I don't know where that came from -- for the world number two?
PINTO: It was.
PINTO: No, let's get serious here. I'll tell you exactly what happened. Petra Kavitova, the reigning Wimbledon champion, had a golden opportunity to overtake Caroline Wozniacki, the world number one in women's tennis. Wozniaki lost in the quarter finals of the Sydney International.
And Kvitova knew if she won this tournament in Australia, she would get enough points to go to the top spot.
Obviously, she blew that chance. She lost to Linar (ph) in the semi- finals. That means that when the Australian Open draw is made, will have Caroline Wozniaki still is number one. She will be the top seed. The main -- the main worry with her is just her health.
PINTO: She had a wrist injury in her last match. She says she's confident that she will be in top shape. There's proof of that wrist injury. She was -- she was crying on the court the other day.
ANDERSON: Was she?
PINTO: It was hurting that bad. But the MRI didn't show any serious damage. She'll be there.
ANDERSON: Listen, which I guess begs the question, she's certainly not going to be the favorite going in, even though she's going to be number one.
PINTO: Because she's never won a grand slam title. And I think it's a huge monkey on her back...
PINTO: -- not physically, because the monkey is not there, but from - - from an expression point of view, because every time she shows up to any grand slams, it's always the questions. I've been at these press conferences. Everybody wants to know what it's going to take,
PINTO: When are you going to do it?
So she isn't the favorite. I still say that Serena Williams is the favorite because every time she shows up for a tournament and she's at least 80 percent fit...
PINTO: -- she's still got the power to beat anyone -- and the experience.
ANDERSON: She is remarkable. Let's get some football out of the way, shall we?
And I know that there's been another twist in the Carlos Tevez saga. Do fill us in.
PINTO: Yes. Carlos Tevez has spent the last couple of months in...
ANDERSON: Doing nothing.
PINTO: -- Argentina playing golf.
ANDERSON: Oh, right.
PINTO: And every day, there seems to be a new rumor linking him with a new club. What I can tell you today as a fact is that he was involved in possible transfer negotiations to AC Milan. His deal was dependent on the -- on AC Milan selling one of their star strikers, Alexandre Pato, the Brazilian international, Paris Saint-Germain. Now, to make this quick, what happened was Milan accepted a 35 million euro, or $50 million, bid for -- for Pato from PSG. But then the player didn't want to go, so the money they wanted to spend on Tevez, they didn't have anymore because they couldn't get Pato...
ANDERSON: If you were a coach...
PINTO: -- Pato on the road. Yes?
ANDERSON: Would you buy him?
PINTO: Yes. Because I think that Roberto Mancini didn't manage him properly, from a personal standpoint, at -- at Manchester City. He's a live wire. He is completely -- I don't know where that word come -- came from -- he is very unpredictable. But when he's on the pitch, he's electric.
PINTO: And if you've got a manager with a big personality and -- and charisma who can keep him in line, he -- he can be a star.
ANDERSON: I'm glad you said that, because we forget the sort of performances we saw from him for Man City. When that team wasn't playing...
ANDERSON: -- as they are now, he held that team together for Mancini right at the beginning, didn't he?
He really was. I mean he was the man in form when nobody else was really coming good. So...
PINTO: Yes, last year, without him. They would never have qualified...
PINTO: -- for the Champions League.
ANDERSON: Yes, yes.
PINTO: The guy is a great, great striker.
ANDERSON: So Tevez, if you're looking for a job at the moment, he'll take you -- he's the coach of the (INAUDIBLE) for CNN London.
PINTO: Yes, why not?
PINTO: He's playing golf. Come on.
ANDERSON: Have a look at that one.
PINTO: How can you stay in shape playing golf?
ANDERSON: Thank you.
Pedro is back, of course, with "WORLD SPORT" in about an hour's time.
Do stay with us for that.
Coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, this show this hour, everything you need for a cold war thriller -- nuclear scientists being killed off by unknown assassins. This is no movie script, I'm afraid. How the murder of an expert by a motorbike hit man is ratcheting up the words -- or the war of words between Iran and the West.
And two years after Haiti was devastated by a massive earthquake, there is a lot of rebuilding left to be done. We're going to show you how you might be able to help.
And from obscurity to the Hollywood spotlight, my big interview with the British actor who's made five films in just 12 months.
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: A very warm welcome back. This is CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN, 31 minutes past 9:00 in London. Let's get you a check of the world news headlines at this point.
The US military is condemning an apparent incident of abuse by US marines in Afghanistan and says it's now identified two of the marines involved. A video posted online appears to show four marines urinating on dead bodies.
Arab League monitors in Syria are investigating the attack that killed nine people, including a French journalist. The government blames the opposition for Wednesday's deadly strike, but the opposition is pointing the finger at the al-Assad regime.
Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan has reportedly been meeting with labor union leaders. The strikes and protests continue around the country. Nigerians are demonstrating against the cancellation of fuel price subsidies.
And Japan has pledged to buy less Iranian oil, boosting the US campaign to pressure Iran over its nuclear program. The country's finance minister announced the move following a meeting with US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Despite facing an energy crisis, Japan says it will start reducing imports as soon as possible.
Well, Geithner's trip to Asia is part of a global lobbying effort to win support for the sanctions against Iran, and it comes at a time of heightened tensions between the two countries. And the killing of an Iranian scientist on Wednesday, well, that is only pouring more fuel on the fire.
Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan isn't the first expert to be killed, leading some to believe a high-stakes covert war is being waged against Iran. CNN's Ivan Watson reports.
IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Somebody is killing Iranian nuclear scientists. Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, murdered along with his driver in broad daylight in Tehran traffic. State media says a passing motorbike rider slapped a magnetic bomb on his Peugeot.
Roshan was deputy director of commercial affairs at Iran's Natanz nuclear facility.
WATSON: He's the third nuclear scientist to be murdered in less than three years. Other victims include Massoud Ali Mohammadi and Majid Shahriari. Both were hit by similar sticky bombs delivered on motorbikes.
Iranian officials have been quick to blame the CIA and Israel's Mossad for the attacks.
HILLARY CLINTON, US SECRETARY OF STATE: I want to categorically deny any United States involvement in any kind of act of violence inside Iran.
WATSON: But Iran experts say Tehran has ample reason to be paranoid.
SCOTT PETERSON, AUTHOR: There seems to be no doubt that there is a cover war of sorts that is being waged against Iran and against its nuclear program.
WATSON: In 2009, a mysterious computer virus known as Stuxnet infiltrated and incapacitated centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear plant.
And in December, Iranian officials captures this top secret American stealth drone. Proof, Tehran says, of a covert US intelligence war against Iran.
WATSON (on camera): It's no secret the US has been piling economic pressure on Iran, imposing new sanctions targeting Iranian banks and its oil industry. These measures appear to have contributed to a currency crisis that's seen the Iranian rial lose 20 percent of its value against the dollar in just the last week.
WATSON (voice-over): But this hasn't stopped Iran from launching production of low-enriched uranium at the Fordo nuclear facility, primarily for what Tehran says will be treatment of hundreds of thousands of cancer patients.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the move, saying, quote, "Such enrichment brings Iran a significant step closer to having the capability to produce weapons-grade, highly enriched uranium."
The increasingly tense cold war between Washington and Tehran now looks poised to claim an American casualty. Iranian authorities arrested Amir Hekmati, a former US marine of Iranian descent during what his family says was a visit to his relatives in Tehran last August.
This week, a court sentenced him to death on espionage charges after accusing him of working for the CIA.
Ivan Watson, CNN, Istanbul.
ANDERSON: Well, the accusations and rumors, then, continue to swirl around exactly who targeted this nuclear scientist. Israeli president Shimon Peres was asked in CNN interview earlier whether his country was involved. This is how he responded.
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SHIMON PERES, PRESIDENT OF ISRAEL: Not to the best of my knowledge. I know that it's fashionable whatever wrong happens in Iran, it's the United States and Israel. So, there's nothing new in this approach.
(END VIDEO CILP)
ANDERSON: Shimon Peres, there, denying to the best of his knowledge, at least, allegations that his country was involve. There, the plot, of course, thickening.
Up next, my colleague Anderson Cooper takes a trip back to a country devastated by disaster and disease.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, all of this used to be filled with tents?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, exactly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Two years on from the quake that ravaged Haiti, I'm going to ask Anderson whether the country's finally on the mend. That's coming up after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: The terrifying scenes from two years ago today, just moments after a powerful earthquake tore through Haiti. Let me remind you, more than 200,000 people were killed, 1.5 million were made homeless.
The quake devastated the country, which was already the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
CNN's Anderson Cooper was one of the first journalists on the ground in Haiti following that disaster. I want you to take a look at what he witnessed just a day after the quake struck.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We've heard there may be somebody who's alive buried in there. People on the streets say there's a 15-year-old who's buried alive there and that they're talking. But we're going to go and try and see if that's the case and if there's anything we can do.
But the street -- I've never seen anything like this. Look at this. It's just -- it is just complete devastation. This is downtown Port-au- Prince, just a few blocks from the presidential palace, just about a block from the national cathedral, which itself is pretty much destroyed.
It's a 13-year-old girl who's trapped here. Her name is Bea (ph). She's clearly alive. You can hear her crying out. You can see two of her feet at this point. They've been able to --
(MEN SPEAKING IN FRENCH)
COOPER: She's clearly in pain. They discovered her early this morning. It's now a little past 12:00, and --
COOPER: -- they're still digging. They're not clear how they're going to get her out. They only have this one shovel, they don't have any heavier equipment.
COOPER (voice-over): Finally, after being trapped for more than 18 hours, the men make a small hole and pull Bea out. She is alive. She is finally free.
(MEN SHOUTING IN FRENCH)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Remarkable scenes, there. Well, since those early days, the international community has spent more than $2 billion to help Haiti rebuild, though it was promised twice that much. More than a million Haitians have been moved out of what were crowded camps, and hundreds of kilometers of paved roads have been built.
But half a million people are still living under tents and tarpaulins, and Haiti is still a nation where most people don't have running water, toilets, medical care, or jobs.
Well, Anderson recently returned to Haiti, and he joins me, now, live from New York. I know you visited the scenes of the destruction that you witnessed two years go. What did you find, Anderson?
COOPER: I -- you know, there were definitely signs of progress. As you said, about half the rubble has been removed, and I know that doesn't sound like a lot for two years, but there was an extraordinary amount of rubble.
And relief workers say, given the lack of infrastructure in a place like Haiti and the difficulties operating in a complex environment like Port-au-Prince, removing half the rubble has actually been a big accomplishment and is actually ahead of what many had predicted would be the case.
But as you said, more than a half a million people are still living in these tent camps. It's -- you'd think, well, why can't they just, now the rubble's removed, move them back into neighborhoods?
But a lot of people were squatting on property that they didn't own before, so there's questions about who actually owns the land. They can't just rebuild. If they did just rebuild, they'd be rebuilding using the same kind of techniques they used before, which would just -- could be knocked over in the next earthquake.
So, it's a very complex system. They still have to get water and infrastructure into a neighborhood. But there's definitely signs of progress, but nobody there is satisfied with the pace of change.
ANDERSON: You caught up with the country's president, I know, while you were there. What did he say?
COOPER: Well, he's certainly not satisfied with the pace of reconstruction. This is the new president, he's been there about six months or so.
He's really very different than past Haitian presidents. A lot of them have been very reticent, kind of staying in the palace. This is a guy, Martelly, Michel Martelly, who -- he was a famous pop singer in Haiti, he's very well-liked.
When I went to meet with him, he said, "Let's go to the park where we just cleared out several hundred families from a tent city." He literally jumped in his car, hardly any security, and just drove to this park, where we had the interview, surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of people.
He's very energetic, he wants people to know that Haiti's open for business. He wants to overcome the culture of corruption that's existed in past governments. But there's a lot of obstacles in his way. Here's some of what he had to say.
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COOPER: So, four days ago, there were hundreds of people living here in tents.
MICHEL MATRELLY, PRESIDENT OF HAITI: Yes. Actually, here we had about more than 600 families living here. And we have promised them that by December 31st, it would be empty. We're late about -- we're two days late. But by 2nd or 3rd of January, we were able to empty this place, and today, the kids are here playing soccer, riding their bikes.
COOPER: So, there's still about half a million or so people --
COOPER: -- living in camps.
MARTELLY: Certainly. But it's -- it's about sending the signal, it's not about having a magic stick and making the problem disappear in one day. If you plant a tree today, you're not going to be able to enjoy the shadow, you have to wait five years. So, changing Haiti's going to take time, and healing the wounds is going to take time.
COOPER: You're not satisfied at all with the pace of reconstruction?
MARTELLY: Certainly not. I just discovered an article that -- from the old money that was allocated to Haiti, one cent on every dollar was given to the Haitian government. So, at the end, we never had control of the money that was being spent here.
So today, we want to change that, because we know better than everyone else our problems. And today, we have a leadership that really wants to change Haiti. I think it's time to allow us to have means so we can come out with some results.
COOPER: If part of the problem has been a culture of corruption in government, how do you change that mindset? How do you stop corruption?
MARTELLY: Well, by the example. First of all, I have to be straight myself. And being -- being OK as far as the institution that is responsible for checking on what I do, I'm open to them coming to the palace, to the White House, and see how we do things.
I must give the example. I need to make sure that whether it's my family, my friends, they don't abuse or use the power that we have today to enrich themselves or to do strange things. And I'm against it, and I will act --
As a matter of fact, I'm looking to -- act so I can be the example. I'm looking for somebody around me to jump on him --
COOPER: You want to find somebody to do something so you can --
MARTELLY: I want to, so -- because you need to create confidence. You want to create confidence in order for the people to trust you, to believe in what you're doing, you must do it right.
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COOPER: So, Becky, he very much wants to send the signal that Haiti is open for business. It's a long road, though, to really convince investors, convince companies to come to Haiti because of the lack of infrastructure, because of all the difficulties.
ANDERSON: Yes, he's talking the talk. Let's hope they walk the walk, there. Two years ago, Bill Clinton, of course, announced that he was, and I quote, "prepared to spend three years dedicating his life to rebuilding Haiti."
I hate to point fingers, Anderson, tonight, but given the high-profile role that Bill Clinton played at the time, and our viewers will remember that, has he come good on his promises, do you think?
COOPER: Well, there's certainly been a lot of criticism of the -- the organization that Bill Clinton was co-chair of along with then Haitian prime minister.
A lot of Haitians said they didn't really have enough of a seat at the table in terms of making decisions about where funds were distributed. There were criticisms that it didn't meet often enough, that it was -- too bureaucratic, that it didn't make decisions fast enough.
President Clinton's down in Haiti today, I know he remains committed. But you've got to remember -- you've got to know that that organization has -- the mandate has actually expired, and the Haitian parliament did not renew the mandate.
So now there's all these questions about, well, if that -- if the Bill Clinton-headed organization is not distributing these funds, who is? How are the funds going to be distributed? And no one at this point really has an answer to that. We've been trying to get an answer for several days, now, and that seems to kind of be, right now, up in the air.
ANDERSON: Yes, stick with it. Anderson Cooper, with more on what is Haiti two years on from what was a devastating earthquake, and you will remember his quite remarkable reporting at the time. Anderson, thank you for that.
And stay tuned for "BackStory" tonight. Isha Sesay will be speaking to the photographer who worked with Anderson in Haiti about the horrors that he witnessed then and how things have changed to his mind.
And it's never too late to help, of course. Do head to our Impact Your World website for details on how you can make a difference. That is cnn.com/impact.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN, 48 minutes past 9:00 in London. He's been likened to Errol Flynn but is also shaping up as the year's biggest villain.
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TOM HIDDLESTON, BRITISH ACTOR: You can't ask an actor that. Oh --
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ANDERSON: Well, the question I did ask to Tom Hiddleston that had him at a loss for words. Tonight's Big Interview's up next.
ANDERSON: Well, we are at that time of the year when the stars come out to collect their gongs. The Golden Globes, of course, kickstart the season Sunday, followed by the BAFTAs, and then the Oscars.
Well, over the next few weeks, you're going to see a number of the usual suspects and veterans of the silver screen in the running for an award, but some newcomers, too. In tonight's Big Interview, I speak to one of them. He's just been shortlisted for one of the most coveted film awards, coveted because the winner is decided by you and me, the public, and therefore deemed to have star power.
ANDERSON (voice-over): Faces that may be slightly unfamiliar now, but keep watching. They're among the young actors shortlisted for the BAFTA Rising Star award and favored to join Hollywood's A-list.
Arguably, British nominee Tom Hiddleston is already well on his way. The Eaton graduate has made five films in the past 12 months alone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, "WAR HORSE": At war! We are at war!
HIDDLESTON AS CAPTAIN NICHOLLS, "WAR HORSE": I promise you that I'll look after him and, if I can, I'll return him to your care.
ANDERSON: The Spielberg epic "War Horse" among them.
ANDERSON (on camera): I've read that Steven Spielberg has likened you to Errol Flynn. How did that go down with you?
HIDDLESTON: Well, Errol Flynn's famous for a number of things, shall we say? But I think he was referring to -- I don't know what he was referring to. I think he was referring to the guy in "The Charge of the Light Brigade" as opposed to the man who was famous for womanizing. I hope.
HIDDLESTON: He was very complimentary about my horse riding and -- horse riding is one thing, but horse riding on film is quite another, because you have to be so dextrous with it.
ANDERSON: You shot all those scenes yourself.
HIDDLESTON: I absolutely did.
HIDDLESTON: Yes. There was -- I had a stunt double, but I never used him. Steven's big thing, when he asked me -- when he gave me the job, he said, "I want you to do this, Tom. I want it to be you, because audiences are so smart now, they can tell when directors cut to a wide and it's a stunt man."
And the film is about the connection of human beings to this extraordinary horse, Joey. And if you're playing the cavalry officer who rides him into battle, then my professional obligation is to do just that.
ANDERSON (voice-over): The first scene that Hiddleston filmed for the movie put that obligation to the test.
HIDDLESTON: Steven calls "Action," and I'm charging at 40 miles an hour at full tilt with the thunder of the hooves in my ears, the sound of 120 stunt men crying hell fury, tears streaming down my face.
If I'd fallen off at that point, it would have been incredibly dangerous. If anyone had fallen off. If the horse had fallen. The only thing that was -- that wasn't real were the bullets in those machine guns.
ANDERSON: Just as "War Horse" was adapted from London stage play, so, too, Hiddleston's first audience was in the theater.
HIDDLESTON AS NICHOLLS: The law is very clear about the proper age for soldiering.
ANDERSON: His popularity has since soared, and the turning point was last year, when he became a villain, Hiddleston winning the role of Loki in the Kenneth Branagh-directed film "Thor."
ANDERSON (on camera): How did you go from treading the boards in Shakespearean roles to playing a villain in a blockbuster?
HIDDLESTON: I don't quite know. And I have to take my hat off to Kenneth Branagh, here, because I knew him. We'd worked together in the theater. And so Ken thought, well, come in and audition for "Thor." And so, I auditioned for the roll of Thor initially, and all the producers watched the tape and said, "This is for Loki, right? This is -- this is for our bad guy."
But the wonderful thing about Loki is he's not all -- he's not all bad. He's not an out-and-out villain. He's a deeply complex, vulnerable, and damaged, abused -- lost soul.
I don't think anybody is completely heroic, I don't think anybody is completely bad. I think there's space for redemption in bad guys, and there's space for flaws in heroes.
ANDERSON: Some quick-fire questions for you. Which role do you relate to more? Villain or hero?
HIDDLESTON: Hero villains and villainous heroes.
ANDERSON: What super power do you wish you had?
HIDDLESTON: Piano playing.
ANDERSON: Which super power of Loki's do you wish you had?
HIDDLESTON: Self duplication.
ANDERSON: If you had to choose, would it be theater or film?
HIDDLESTON: God, that's hard. You can't ask an actor that. Oh -- Both. I can't answer that question.
ANDERSON: Best advice you've ever been given.
HIDDLESTON: Oh, gosh. So many, so many. I'm going to do two. Kenneth Branagh says, "Less doing, more being." And Terrance Davis said, "The camera captures the truth, but it also captures falsity, so if you don't feel it, don't do it."
ANDERSON: If you hadn't been an actor, you'd have been -- ?
HIDDLESTON: A teacher. Or a cowboy.
ANDERSON: Do you see yourself living in Hollywood?
HIDDLESTON: I don't know if I will ever live there. I've -- lots of people have said, "Don't" and "Do" either way. Anthony Hopkins was the first to say, "Oh, get over here, you'll have a great time. I've never looked back. My life is -- " You know, he said, "The day I got my American passport was the best day of my life."
But then, Kenneth Branagh said, "Always keep one foot at home because you don't want to get lost."
ANDERSON: What a Hopkins impression he does. "War Horse" opens tomorrow in much of Europe, including right here in the UK. So, for tonight's Parting Shots, I'm going to leave you with images from that official premier here in London earlier this week.
I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD, thanks for watching. The world news headlines and "BackStory" are up next after this short break.
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