CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

CONNECT THE WORLD

Debate Continues Over Military Intervention In Syria; Rafael Nadal Becomes King Of Clay, Wins Record 7th French Open Title

Aired June 11, 2012 - 16:00   ET

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


FIONNUALA SWEENEY, HOST: Tonight on Connect the World, as the U.S. warns of yet another massacre in Syria activists are demanding to know why the international community won't intervene. Tonight, I'll speak with two army generals including a former NATO commander about the unique challenges Syria poses militarily and what it will take for the world to act.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World.

SWEENEY: Also tonight, Britain's prime minister makes headline news after accidentally leaving his young daughter behind in the clubs. And the muscles from Majorca sets a new world record, Rafael Nadal wins his seventh French Open title and tells CNN all about it.

As violence intensifies across Syria there are fears tonight that another massacre could be imminent. Activists report fierce new shelling attacks on Homs, attacks that appear verified by amateur video. They also say the regime is now using helicopter gunships to fire on several towns, including al Heffah.

Special envoy Kofi Annan is demanding Syria allow UN monitors into al Heffah after reports that tanks are now massing on the town's edge. The United States joins Annan today saying it fears another massacre.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VICTORIA NULAND, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: That the regime may be organizing another massacre, this time in the village of in al Heffah in Latakia Province as well as in the towns of Deir al-Zour, in Daraa, in Homs, in Hama, and in the suburbs of Damascus. UN military observers have been trying to make their way into al Heffah in particular and they've been blocked by regime forces and barred from the town which is yet another violation of the regime's commitment to cooperate with the UN supervision mission inside Syria.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SWEENEY: Opposition activists say at least 93 people were killed across Syria today. Here you see the flashpoints of violence from Damascus in the south all the way north to Aleppo.

Well, from the very start, some experts said the Syrian regime would survive this uprising if the biggest cities remained on the sidelines. So far, Aleppo and Damascus haven't really been drawn into the conflict, but as Ivan Watson reports we may now be witnessing a turning point.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is a Syrian rebel ambush, a roadside bomb hitting a convoy of buses carrying Syrian troops. The rebel's camera catches soldiers running for cover in the suburb of Duma, just a few miles from Damascus.

The sound of fierce fighting echoing across Damascus at night has shattered the security bubble in the capital. Syria experts say the battle for Syria's two largest cities has begun.

PETER HARLING, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: We've seen events pick up on the ground with more and more clashes occurring in areas of the country which the regime claims to control and in particular the largest city Aleppo, the country's economic capital if you will, and the administrative capital Damascus. In both places we've seen not just more armed clashes than ever in the past, but also a revival of the protest movement in its peaceful dimension.

WATSON: A secretly filmed activist video shows the historic Hamadia Bazaar (ph) in the heart of Damascus shuttered, a strike staged by shopkeepers two weeks ago in protest against a massacre of civilians in the village of Houla allegedly by pro-government militia.

HARLING: This is really a very strong signal suggesting that the historical alliance between the regime and the business establishment of the capital is at least partially broken.

WATSON: The strike spread to neighborhoods in Aleppo prompting government troops to lash out and force merchants to reopen their shops.

HARLING: What we see is the regime whose narrative boil down to us or chaos, but increasingly what we see is them and chaos. The regime has been incapable of imposing law and order.

WATSON: More than a year of violence compounded by economic sanctions is taking its toll on ordinary Syrians. Prices of basic commodities and fuel have skyrocketed. Activist-journalists sent us this video of a woman complaining that she can only afford to feed her children rotting onions and stale bread warmed over a wood fire, because she can't afford to buy cooking fuel.

The Syrian regime is still far from defeated. It still have fervent supporters and vastly better weapons than the rebels. But with its soldiers now using the main sports stadium in Damascus as a staging ground, the image of a government in control has started to crack.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Istanbul.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SWEENEY: Well, CNN talked to a Syrian activist in Idlib today who said, quote, "we cannot believe that the world is just watching us being killed. We want military intervention." You may remember the world did intervene in Libya's uprising, a move that helped rebels there win the war. But as many experts have pointed out, Syria is no Libya.

The first major difference is Syria's military capability. Unlike Libya, Syria has a formidable military machine. The country has a significant air presence. This is a look at its military air bases around the country in the white circles. The blue squares represent the civilian airports. Many of those bases are guarded by one of the most significant ballistic missile forces in the region. Nearly 1,000 helicopters, war planes, and jets also make up its air force. Libya had less than 400 aircraft only half of them operational.

Another major difference is the makeup of the rebel force. In Libya, opposition forces had a strong hold in the eastern city of Benghazi. In the case of Syria, rebel forces often are spread throughout the country.

And finally, though Syria's important foreign ties: Tartus is home to a Russian naval base, Moscow's only presence in the Mediterranean.

So Syria presents much different challenges than Libya did. But some still say military intervention is the right course of action. Tonight, we'll debate both sides of the argument with two top former military figures.

George Joulwan is a former NATO supreme allied commander and retired U.S. major general. James "Spider" Marks was commanding general of the U.S. army intelligence center.

Thank you both for joining us.

First of all, if I can turn to you General Joulwan, you are I gather against military intervention. Why?

GEN. GEORGE JOULWAN, FRM. NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER (RET): Well, I think you're earlier report says that the rebels were making progress. I say we should not intervene unless it's going to be an international action. We shouldn't intervene unless we understand the clarity in terms of the mission and the intended end state. We shouldn't intervene unless we look at the second and third and fourth order effects of what may occur and be prepared to address those concerns whether it's Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, whether it's Iran and what may happen there, and also with Russia.

So I think there's a lot to do.

We all deplore the killing, but intervening militarily, particularly by the United States I think right now is not warranted.

SWEENEY: And let me ask you about the political will behind this. There doesn't seem to be the same international, or indeed in the United States, domestic consumption for intervention as there was in Libya.

JOULWAN: Well, not also in Libya, but also Bosnia. And I had a hand in running the Bosnian operation. And there was very little support then. And I worked for a year-and-a-half to answer all those questions of clarity through prudent rules of engagement. Are we going to take out all those very sophisticated air defenses that you mentioned?

All of that needs to be raised before you make a military decision to intervene, particularly by the United States.

SWEENEY: Major General Spider Marks, you're in favor of military intervention. The questions and the points raised by Major General Joulwan, have they been addressed in your mind? Are these semantical (ph)?

MAJ. GEN. JAMES MARKS (RET), CNN CONTRIBUTOR: No they're not semantical (ph). General Joulwan is absolutely spot on. Where I differ is that there has to be some immediate cessation to the killing that's taking place in Syria. And clearly diplomacy has not been able to do that. And there are ways that that can take place where it's not unilateral. And I would never suggest that the United States do this in a unilateral way. There has to be an international body that agrees to the insertion of military force.

SWEENEY: And where could you see that kind of agreement coming from?

MARKS: Where can I see it coming from? It needs to be able to take place both from European partners and the regional stakeholders in (inaudible). Clearly Jordan has a stake in this. A burgeoning and growing Iraq has a stake in this. And clearly what you see on the sidelines is an Israeli that is very much in tune to what the dynamics are inside the country.

And let's be frank, the Syrian military does not have a very strong track record in terms of effectiveness on the ground for the use of its military forces. Clearly it's being effective right now against civilian targets.

But my point is is there needs to be an international body that would be lead by the United States, not necessarily the United States unilaterally and not necessarily the United States with the exclusive application of force on the ground.

SWEENEY: Why would it have to be lead by the United States?

MARKS: There isn't any other body that's going to be able to bring this together and again let's look at the dynamic of the presence of Russia and the alliance that takes place that's in place right now between Damascus and Moscow. It's very important the United States not allow Russia to increase its presence and the hand that it can wield in this part of the -- in this part of the world as we go forward.

Clearly al Qaeda is another wild card in this. And we're beginning to see the insipid beginning of the insertion of al Qaeda trying to create a solution. I think it's important that we have a presence on the ground so we can at least begin to shape what that end state might be, as General Joulwan has talked about.

SWEENEY: General Joulwan do you see that there might be a tipping point for military intervention?

JOULWAN: Not right now. I think we've got a lot of other questions to answer here. You know, I brought Russia into the Bosnian operation. And we were able to get cooperation with the Russians to try to have an influence in settling that very difficult conflict that was going on.

I think there's a role here for diplomacy, there's a role here for some arm twisting on our part to get people involved. The Arab League needs to get involved. But I really think talking about unilateral military action or even military action without an understanding, we cannot go through another 10 year war in an Arab country. We just can't do it.

SWEENEY: But you're making a comparison there with Iraq. And some say that that comparison is more accurate than to compare Syria with Libya.

But as time passes, does the prospect for successful military intervention, should it be deemed necessary and agreements be reached, approve or decrease?

JOULWAN: You know, I think there's -- we have a -- we don't like to see the killing that's going on now as Americans, also within Europe and NATO. NATO intervened not just the United States in Bosnia. But the United States was very unwilling to do so for a long time. So I really think that it's going to take some sort of leadership here and diplomacy, economic, as well as military options here to be able to try to stop the killing. And Russia can be very helpful with us in that area.

SWEENEY: If not helpful, perhaps necessary as we look here at shelling, the latest shelling of the city of Homs in Syria.

Let me ask you about military intervention. Does it need to be on the scale of the kind of intervention we saw in Libya, what about the prospect of safe havens for people trying to flee cities like Homs?

JOULWAN: Well, again, let me get back to the issue of if you're going to put an air cover of it as we did in Libya, then you need to have what I call robust rules of engagement. And that's part of the clarity in terms of the mission. Do you have the rules of engagement to take out their air defenses? And you know then Russia is involved in some of that.

All that needs to be decided. And that to me is a very important aspect of whatever we do in Syria.

SWEENEY: I mean, Major General Spider Marks, could you even for a second begin to see that any kind of military intervention, either on the borders of Syria or within or above Syria itself, could come about some kind of -- you know, without some kind of overall agreement rather than unilateral action by some countries?

MARKS: I think the only thing that you would see is the possibility of Turkey setting up some safe havens or buffer zones as sanctuaries to encourage families that are leaving Syria to have a place to go where at least there is a hope of some degree of protection, certainly along the border with Jordan and with Iraq again you could see that. We haven't seen that in great numbers right now, but that again would have to take place unilaterally by those nations absent an international body that's trying to set that up.

General Joulwan has established very clearly that diplomacy must proceed any use of military force. That's an absolute necessary step. I am suggesting, however, that military force needs to be on the table as a topic moving forward.

SWEENEY: And General Joulwan, presumably that's what's already been taking place over the last year and more -- diplomatic action.

JOULWAN: Diplomatic action. But you should also know that there are nations arming the rebels. We should establish that. There are nations supplying arms to the rebels in Syria. And that is being done by several nations unilaterally. That will go on as it did in Libya. And I think in many respects this sort of revolution has to come from within. And your earlier report that the rebels were having some degree of success.

I think all of that coupled with diplomatic, economic, and pressure can bring about the results without having a large military intervention at this time.

SWEENEY: Thank you. General Spider Marks, the final word to you if I may. Do you believe that there are within various governments around the world military planners at work right now?

MARKS: I think every nation that has a focus, or at least an interest in what the outcome is like in Syria, clearly has military plans. I mean, that's what militaries do, they plan for those inevitablilities and those, frankly, very uncertain times. So clearly plans are in place and they are growing in terms of branches and the sequels that are necessary to anticipate what the possible outcomes might be.

SWEENEY: We leave it there. Thank you very much indeed. Major General Spider Marks, General Joulwan, both of you in Washington, D.C. Thanks for joining us.

JOULWAN: Thank you.

MARKS: Thank you.

SWEENEY: And still to come tonight, is Hosni Mubarak's health hanging in the balance. Reports that Egypt's imprisoned former president has slipped into a coma.

Running out of steam, markets cheer Spain's bank bailout, but quickly fizzle out, the unresolved issues is rattling investors coming up.

And in Euro 2012, a result for France and England, but (inaudible) both sides. We'll have all the latest sports news and much more when Connect the World continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SWEENEY: You're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World with me Fionnuala Sweeney. Welcome back.

Hosni Mubarak has slipped into a coma according to Egypt's interior ministry. His health has been reportedly failing since June 2 when he was found guilty of failing to prevent the deaths of pro-democracy protesters during Egypt's uprising.

CNN's Ben Wedeman is in Cairo. He sent this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Interior Minister officials in Cairo tell CNN deposed president Hosni Mubarak slipped into what they call a full coma Monday morning. They also say that his two sons who are in the same prison awaiting trial have been granted permission to stay by his side. The same officials say that medical staff at the prison had to use a defibrillator several times because of heart irregularities.

Now Mubarak's lawyers are pushing to have the 84-year-old ex-president moved out of Tora prison south of Cairo where he's been for the last nine days serving a life sentence for the murder of more than 800 anti-regime protesters by security forces during the revolution last year.

Now critics say the whole health crisis is merely a ploy to get the ex-president transferred to a nearby military hospital with a Nile view and no bars on the windows.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Cairo.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SWEENEY: We're going to take a short break. When we come back, there may be any doubt that Rafael Nadal is the king of clay.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SWEENEY: You're watching Connect the World live from CNN. Welcome back. I'm Fionnuala Sweeney.

It may have taken a day longer than expected, but the overwhelming men's favorite at the French Open didn't fail to produce the goods in the end. Joining us now with a little bit more on that is Don Riddell. He's got a closer look at Rafael Nadal. I mean, OK, this time yesterday it was being called off because of rain. They came back today and he left no one in any doubt who the champion.

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORREPSONDENT: He continues to reign at Roland Garos, yeah. I mean, it was a really frustrating day for both the players and the fans on Sunday when they had to stop because of rain. I think probably frustrating for Novak Djokovic, because when the rain came down he'd won eight consecutive games and Nadal was rattled. But when they resumed in Paris this morning, Nadal broke him immediately. And it really wasn't long before Djokovic was double faulting as you'll see here to hand Nadal his seventh French Open title.

That is a record. He's now gone beyond Bjorn Borg who won six titles at Roland Garos. And you can see what it meant to Nadal here not just because he'd made history at Paris where he reigned supreme. He's only ever lost one match in 40 -- in 53 at Roland Garos, but because he'd lost the last three grand slam finals to Djokovic, so this really was redemption for Nadal.

After the game, World Sports' Alex Thomas got to speak to the reigning champion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDNET: Amazing scenes Rafa. Why was your record seventh title so special to you?

RAFAEL NADAL, SEVEN-TIME FRENCH OPEN CHAMPION: Well, it's very special because -- always special when a final at Roland Garos, but makes more special I lost my last three last finals against Novak. And today I felt that I was close like the time in Australia two sets for me, breaking in the third. And I lost eight games in a row. So, you know, I feel that you can lose another time, another final, that's why at the end when you win it's a very big important.

There's no satisfaction for me. And all my team was there supporting me for all my career. And because of them I am here today. And in this case I say thanks to them for everything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIDDELL: He doesn't look very excited. But trust me he's absolutely ecstatic.

SWEENEY: I'm sure he is.

He's got Wimbledon, of course, to look forward to.

RIDDELL: Yeah. And I think he'll fancy it as well. I mean, of course he's won at Wimbledon before. And now that he's beaten Djokovic finally I think he'll go in there with renewed belief.

SWEENEY: Let's move on, though. Euro championships taking place. The co-host Ukraine in the middle of a game with Sweden at the moment.

RIDDELL: Yeah. And it's going brilliantly for the co-hosts Ukraine. They're beating Sweden 2-1. And not only are they beating them, but their star man Andriy Shevchenko has scored both of those goals. Sweden took the lead through their captains Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It was then Ukraine's captain Shevchenko that hit back those two headers in close succession. And this really is a big deal for Shevchenko. He's Ukraine's greatest ever player. He's been injured for much of this season. He's the oldest striker in the tournament at 35 years old. And Kiev will be absolutely rocking tonight if Ukraine can pull this one off. They're in the 82nd minute. Only eight or nine minutes to go. Ukraine winning by two goals to one.

SWEENEY: Now I happen to know something which people who earlier in this day were leaving work early having started very early in the hopes of watching England beat France.

RIDDELL: They'd have been disappointed. Although actually the way England played I think they will be rather pleased that England came away with a point. That game finished 1-1. England took the lead. Joleon Lescott put the English in front. France responded with a goal from Samir Nasri.

I think the French will be disappointed not to have won that game. They had way more of the possession. They had way more shots on target. England, remember, they're playing with a brand new manager. They've only been together with Roy Hodgson for what, a month now. I think they were rather conservative in their approach. And given the way things panned out, they'll be pleased with the point.

You can see the statistics there. France really should have won that game. I think England will be pleased to have got away with it.

SWEENEY: All right, Don. I know you're going to have much more in awhile on World Sport in about an hour from now. Thanks very much.

RIDDELL: OK.

SWEENEY: Well, still to come on Connect the World, the partying didn't last long. Markets cheered the deal to save Spain banks, but the surge was short lived. You can find out why just ahead.

And Britain's former prime minister slams allegations against him in the UK media ethics inquiry. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SWEENEY: A very warm welcome to our viewers across Europe and around the world. I'm Fionnuala Sweeney, and these are the latest world headlines from CNN.

Special envoy Kofi Annan says he's gravely concerned about an escalation of violence in Syria. Activists say the regime has stepped up shelling attacks and is now indiscriminately firing on some areas with helicopter gunships.

The $125 billion bailout for Spain's banks isn't calming investors' fears about the eurozone crisis. Global stock markets initially cheered the deal, but the rally was short-lived. Borrowing costs for Italy and Spain both rose, nudging closer to levels that are considered unsustainable.

A government spokesman for former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak is in a coma in a Cairo prison hospital. His lawyer describes Mubarak's condition as very critical. Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison for the killing of pro-democracy demonstrators last year.

Former British prime minister Gordon Brown has taken the stand in the UK media ethics inquiry. In an impassioned testimony, he denied allegations that he made a threatening phone call to News International chief Rupert Murdoch.

Global stock markets opened higher on Monday on news of a rescue deal for Spanish banks, but the rally didn't last long. Here's a look at the closing numbers, the Dow finishing in negative territory there. In London, the FTSE closing down a fraction, and at the start of the trading day, Spanish stocks were up over 3 percent but really ran out of steam. In Italy, the main stock market also taking a hit.

Investors initially liked what they saw but, on closer inspection, changed their minds. Nina Dos Santos joins me live from Madrid. Nina, what spooked the markets?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It seems as though there's a lack of detail at this point, Fionnuala. We know that in the next few days, what we'll hear is some kind of clearer indication of exactly how much Spain and its banks could need.

For the moment, they're pitching this as a bank rescue deal rather than a country deal, but what I found out earlier on the streets of Madrid is that many people are still rather skeptical about that. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): First relief, then reflection. Investors greeted Spain's request for aid with glee, only to lose their appetite upon a myriad of unknowns.

DAVID BACH, PROFESSOR, INSTITUTO DE EMPRESA: In a way, the bailout itself is a reminder that Spanish sovereign debt continues to be under a lot of pressure, and the price of financing this through the government itself would have been prohibitively high.

DOS SANTOS: While it's up to $125 billion, some say that Spain's bailout raises more questions than it answers. Indeed, its government doesn't yet know how much money will be needed. But for the time being, the eurozone's fourth-largest economy says it's solvent, even if it's banks are not.

MARIANO RAJOY, PRIME MINISTER OF SPAIN (through translator): I'm not going to get into minimalistic arguments. What I know is that Europe is going to make available to the financial -- Spanish financial systems that needed a line of credit that will have to be returned.

DOS SANTOS: Among the issues yet to emerge, how to feed funds to Spain's financial sector without jeopardizing the country's credit rating. Also unclear are the terms that other eurozone members could impose and possible sources of friction with the block's previous bailout recipients.

DOS SANTOS (on camera): Spain is stuck in its second recession in three years. Output is expected to shrink by 1.7 percent at the end of 2012, and the ongoing crisis has wiped nearly 25 percent off of the value of Spain's largest listed companies.

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Despite its call for aid, Fitch ratings still downgraded two of Spain's biggest banks to within a whisker of junk status, and that in turn could make Spain's bailout yet more expensive before it's even begun.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DOS SANTOS: So, Fionnuala, as you can see, this has had the adverse effects that Spain's government and also the other governments around the eurozone have wanted. The focused attention of the markets has now turned towards another country that's very heavily indebted. We're talking about Italy.

Just to put it into context, Spain's economy is worth $1.4 trillion. At that stage, it's the largest sector -- excuse me, fourth-largest in the eurozone, but Italy's economy is even bigger, and its debt is even bigger. It's worth $2 trillion in total. So, they really can't afford to let this spin forward towards Italy at this stage.

SWEENEY: All right, but let me ask you about those countries that have already received bailout. Are we completely aware of the terms, fully aware of the terms, yet, that have been given to Spain, and what chances, if any, do Ireland Greece have that they're not subject to the same conditions?

DOS SANTOS: Well, a lot of people have been saying at this point, Fionnuala, that Ireland really has a rather strong case at this point if Spain gets more favorable conditions than it does that perhaps presenting an argument for renegotiating its own bailout.

If you take, for instance, Ireland, a lot of people have been saying, well, considering that Ireland doesn't represent the same amount of GDP as Spain does, Spain has a much larger portion of GDP for the eurozone, well, Ireland's banking crisis cost it $70 billion plus -- excuse me, euros, plus.

So, obviously, if Spain's bailout is 100 billion euros, $125 billion, many people are saying, well, that doesn't sound like it's enough money. And then, if Spain gets better terms and conditions, well, you can bet that Ireland will be saying, what about us?

SWEENEY: And I think they already are. Thanks very much, indeed. Nina Dos Santos joining us there from Madrid.

And still to come, he says he didn't make a threatening phone call and his wife didn't give permission to publish his son's medical details. Gordon Brown's passionate testimony after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SWEENEY: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD. Britain's former prime minister took the stand today as part of the UK's media ethics inquiry, and he was full of passionate denials. Gordon Brown railed against allegations that he'd threatened Rupert Murdoch and said that while it was necessary to have a relationship with the media, he drew a red line when it came to matters of public interest. CNN's Dan Rivers has been watching the inquiry.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GORDON BROWN, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF BRITAIN: I swear by almighty God that the evidence --

DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's the former prime minister with a notoriously rocky relationship with the Murdoch press. But once, his wife Sarah was so close to the Murdochs, she invited Rupert Murdoch's wife, Wendi Deng, to a pajama party.

But the relationship took a knock when the "Sun" published a story about Gordon Brown's son, Fraser, having cystic fibrosis. Gordon Brown again denied he authorized the story.

BROWN: There was no question of us giving permission for this. There was no question of implicit or explicit permission, and I ask you if any mother or any father was presented with a choice as to whether a four- month-old son's medical condition, your child's medical condition, should be broadcast on the front page of a tabloid newspaper.

RIVERS: But even after this story, Gordon Brown's wife Sarah continued to exchange letters on charity issues with Murdoch's executive, Rebekah Brooks.

BROWN: Sarah is one of the most forgiving people I know, and I think she finds the good in everyone.

RIVERS: But when the "Sun" newspaper switched allegiance away from Brown's Labour Party in 2009, the relationship faltered. In April, Rupert Murdoch claimed under oath that Gordon Brown had threatened him on the phone.

RUPERT MURDOCH, CEO, NEWS CORP: He said, "Well, your company has made -- declared war on my government, and we have no alternative but to make war on your company."

RIVERS: But Gordon Brown produced records of his phone calls to Rupert Murdoch, effectively claiming the call was a figment of Rupert Murdoch's imagination.

BROWN: This did not happen. I have to say to you that there's no evidence it happened, other than Mr. Murdoch's. But it didn't happen because I didn't call him.

RIVERS (on camera): Gordon Brown's critics used to paint him as a grumpy, slightly misanthropic prime minister with a tendency to bear a grudge. But today, he insisted he never ordered his aids to brief or spin against his rivals.

But one thing did shine through: his smoldering fury at Rupert Murdoch and his newspapers. There at least, the reputation for not forgiving or forgetting seem well earned.

RIVERS (voice-over): On Thursday, it will be the turn of the current prime minister, David Cameron, to testify, and he may also be asked about an uncomfortable story related to his children.

On Monday, the "Sun" revealed David Cameron absentmindedly drove away from this pub, leaving his eight-year-old daughter behind, perhaps a reminder from Murdoch's tabloids that they still have the capacity to find the most intimate details out about politicians without necessarily having to hack their phones.

Dan Rivers, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SWEENEY: I'm joined now from London by Peter Dukes, author of "Bad Press: The Fall of the House of Murdoch." Thank you for joining us.

PETER JUKES, AUTHOR, "BAD PRESS: THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF MURDOCH": All right.

SWEENEY: My first question relates to Gordon Brown's testimony today. Did he contribute further to the fall of the Murdoch house?

JUKES: Well, there's certainly some damages to the credibility of both Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks, because he's basically said that they've perjured themselves, or alleged that they could have lied on oath.

There are two very specific statements he's denied, Rebekah Brooks saying that he gave her permission to publish that paper on the front -- story on the front page of the "Sun." And also, Rupert Murdoch saying that they had that phone conversation. You can't have it both ways. That's quite a specific two shots fired across their bow.

SWEENEY: Black and white issue. And what, if anything, has changed, do you think, in the last year, and particularly since this Leveson inquiry into ethics began in the relationship between the government and the British media?

JUKES: Oh, my goodness. Where to begin on that? It began as an inquiry into the ethics and practices and culture of the press. I think it's begun to become a trial for the whole of the political system. Because what's revealed is just how closely connected, over five prime ministers, News International and News Corp were.

Not just them, but the fact that all these dinner parties, these low texts that Rupert Murdoch, his son, and Rebekah Brooks were friends with three prime ministers. Sometimes, when they were competing at the same time. I think that shines a light on the whole political system, not just the press.

SWEENEY: But has it changed the political system and its relationship with the media?

JUKES: Well, I think that people are -- in terms of News International, of the Murdochs, it's not the best summer party to go to anymore. The Chipping Norton set is no longer -- you would not turn up at Rebekah Brooks's place on Christmas Day.

So, in that sense, the level of inspection of this whole world, daylight cleanses it. I don't think that will happen anymore.

In terms of media practices, as we see on that front page of the "Sun," as we saw two months ago with the day -- the "Sunday Times," finding out allegations about senior Tories and cash for access, I don't think the days of News International cajoling, threatening, or kind of controlling the political process by their newspapers is over, certainly not.

SWEENEY: And how does that affect other aspects of the media, not just the house of Murdoch?

JUKES: Well, I this is very interesting, because a lot of journalists will say, oh, it's so terrible now, because of these police inquiries, we can't get anybody to talk, we don't get any more stories. To be honest, there's a -- as a semi-journalist, I don't see that the press is hugely diminished by not having these previous practices. I don't think the public has much sympathy for journalists who say that somehow the government are getting an easy ride now.

But that's what a lot of journalists think. They think it's the beginning of a witch hunt. They think that the press is being chilled. Well, maybe some aspects of their behavior, some aspects of their privacy intrusion needed to be chilled.

SWEENEY: But a lot of this is about opinions. Opinionated journalism --

JUKES: Yes.

SWEENEY: -- and Gordon Brown today referred to a need to separate, as I think he put it, fact from opinion. But is that possible in this day and age, not only of the very specific nature and character of the British press and media, but also Twitter, technology, et cetera?

JUKES: Well, I think, if you look at America, has a much better distinction between fact and comment, and it always has done for the last 50 years. Television in America is different. Where there is partisan television.

In the British system, we have to look at the fact that our broadcasting system has had a better reputation than our press from separating fact and comment. The problem with the BSkyB bid was that BSkyB was going to be totally owned by News International and James Murdoch was asking for the impartiality rules to be dropped.

So, we could have had a very tabloid-style broadcasting system, and that would have been very -- dangerous and difficult defining the difference between opinion and comment.

SWEENEY: Essentially, what we're looking at down the road for the British media is that will it be possible to self-regulate, and what kind of editorial regulation can or might be put in place?

But a final question to touch on Dan Rivers' report. Just at the end, there, we saw that David Cameron is due to appear before the Leveson inquiry on Thursday, and of course, the "Sun's" headline today about him leaving his daughter a couple of months ago, "down the pub," quote/unquote.

Does this -- is there anything more sinister than to be read beneath the headlines of the "Sun" newspaper? Does it still have the clout that it did? It shouldn't be good reading for David Cameron this morning.

JUKES: Well, I've studied 50 years of Rupert Murdoch's very brilliant, often, moves into media. There is a consistent pattern of using news as a form of political currency. One cannot say why this story two months old came out now, just as one cannot say why the "Sunday Times" story about lobbying and cash for access came out then.

We can see on Twitter that Rupert Murdoch has said "Enemies toss, I shall hit back hard." And so, in a way, in the era of Twitter and transparency, you can see quite obvious moves. And when they're obvious, when these stories are obvious payback, they lose their power.

SWEENEY: All right, we're going to leave it there. Thank you very much, Peter Jukes, for joining us, there, from CNN in London.

A quick update on the Euro championships and that game -- match going on between Sweden and Ukraine has ended. Very good news for Ukrainians, if they've been watching this game, 2-1 to Ukraine against Sweden.

In the meantime, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD, and when we come back, we will have our Eye on Georgia. The former Soviet republic that sits at the crossroads of the East and West has become a new hotspot for tourism. We'll take you to one city that is reaping the benefits.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SWEENEY: Now, here at CNN, we have our Eye On innovation in places that are changing the world's business and culture. Georgia is anticipating a boost in economic growth this year, driven in part by tourism, and profiting most from the tourism boom is the spectacular seaside city of Batumi. Diana Magnay gives us a glimpse of the city's tremendous transformation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Batumi by night dazzles, every feature of the skyline carefully lit, glittering across the water. A nighttime showcase of all the city wishes to be, a Black Sea playground for international tourists, a far cry from what it was not long ago.

MIKHEIL SAAKASHVILI, PRESIDENT OF GEORGIA: Especially in the 90s after the Soviet collapse, it was one of the darkest places in the world, one of the worst-run, run by local warlords, basically, who also happened to be smuggler, drug lord kind of Central American dictator from the 50s, of the past century, with all this SUVs and people running around with Kalashnikovs and dark glasses.

MAGNAY: By day, a frenzy of construction echoes across the city. New hotels and apartment lots taking shape along a core beach, expanding ever further south towards Turkey. Donald Trump the latest investor to bet on Batumi, with plans for a new Trump residential tower just unveiled. Locals thrilled at the new lease on life their city is getting, the new jobs this investment brings.

ALEXANDER VARSCHANIDZE, RESTAURANT OWNER (through translator): We have so much here, the mountains, the sea. I'm sure it'll turn this place into the best place to business on the Black Sea.

MAGNAY: Georgia's hoping to attract 4 million visitors this year, almost as much as the country's entire population, with Batumi the jewel in its crown. For now, it's mostly visitors from the Caucasus and from Turkey, though the Russians are returning to what was once a Soviet tourist spot after Georgia scrapped their visa requirements last year.

MAGNAY (on camera): We've just been trying to talk to tourists here about why they've come, and there was a group of Russians who said, "We'd love to talk to you, but our parents don't know that we're here, so we can't."

Then, I talked to a couple from Turkey who said, "We'd love to talk to you, but we're having an affair." So, our other halves obviously don't know that we're hear.

So, it would appear as though Batumi is actually a kind of secret getaway place. That's the side of this city that you won't find out in the tourist books.

MAGNAY (voice-over): And Batumi wants to capitalize on that liberal spirit, placed as it is next-door to Middle Eastern neighbors, where gambling is banned.

MAGNAY (on camera): So, Monte Carlo, Las Vegas, New Orleans, which one would you say -- what city would you most like to emulate?

MAIA SIDAMONIDZE, CHAIRWOMAN, GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM: I feel Las Vegas was the best one.

MAGNAY (voice-over): There's plenty of old-school charm. Parts of Batumi's pre-Soviet glory lovingly restored. But there's no doubt this city desperately needs the investment.

MAGNAY (on camera): You see these glitzy new skyscrapers being built, and then you walk around a corner and you find this. There's such a huge contrast between the city this is striving to be and the city it's looking to replace. Things are moving so quickly here, and some of the older generation who you speak to say it's incredibly hard to keep up.

MAGNAY (voice-over): We meet Nodar Khinigadze fishing down by the sea. He lost his job in shipping years ago and feels he's too old to retrain.

NODAR KHINIGADZE, OUT-OF-WORK SHIPPING WORKER (through translator): The future and present of this country is for young people who studied, who know English. Everything is for them. It is good that they have jobs, but for people like me, who trained during Soviet times, it is hard to find our place.

MAGNAY: But he's grateful for the fact his grandchildren have a future here, Batumi's renewal providing some security for the next generation.

Diana Magnay, CNN, Batumi, Georgia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SWEENEY: And in tonight's Parting Shots, she certainly wasn't born this way. Lady Gaga was sent stumbling around the stage in New Zealand after being hit by a metal pole. The singer was left concussed mid- performance when a backup dancer accidentally struck her with a pole by removing it from the stage.

And although she staggered briefly after the incident, Gaga put on her poker face and continued the show. Afterwards, her makeup artist tweeted, "Gaga has concussion but she's going to be OK. Can't believe she finished the show." Definitely one show that had to go on.

I'm Fionnuala Sweeney, that was CONNECT THE WORLD, thank you for watching. The world headlines are up next after this short break.

END