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Romney Prepares To Make Case To American People; Security Council Stalemate Over Syria Unlikely To Be Resolved

Aired August 30, 2012 - 16:00:00   ET


JONATHAN MANN, HOST: And tonight on Connect the World, the opportunity of a lifetime. In just a few hours time, Mitt Romney will take to the stage to try to convince voters he's the man to lead America.

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

MANN: Tonight, we take a closer look at who the Republican candidate really is and the policies he's campaigning for.

Also ahead, the Marikana mine tragedy takes a bizarre new turn as the miners, not the police, are charged with murder. We'll go live to South Africa for the very latest.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I (inaudible) inspiration to be an athlete, it came after -- after the explosion.


MANN: Turning the nightmares of war into Olympic dreams: former soldiers turned sports superstars.

I'm Jonathan Mann, thanks for joining us.

As Mitt Romney prepares for the speech of his life, no doubt he'll be considering one crucial fact. Right now in the polls he's facing a significant empathy gap. A lot of people simply don't think the wealthy former state governor understands the problem they face. In six hours, Romney will take to the stage trying to change that. Let's bring in CNN chief U.S. correspondent John King.

John, this may be the largest audience Romney has ever had in his life. Millions of people tuning in to watch. What does he have to tell them? What point does he have to make?

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, he has a very complicated, but a very consequential challenge tonight. You mentioned the size of this audience. We are in an election that at the moment maybe it will break late, but at the moment it is as close as they come. So Mitt Romney has to do three things, really, tonight. He has to introduce himself. Yes, the American people know his name, but the Obama campaign has spent millions of dollars defining him as a rich, spoiled kid who doesn't understand the middle class, doesn't care about the middle class. That's the narrative the Obama campaign has promoted. He needs to counter that by a little bit about who he is as a person and what makes him tick.

Challenge number two is to make his case against the incumbent president, to try to tell the American people maybe you like President Obama, but he's had four years. Look at the state of the United States economy. Look at other issues. Mitt Romney has to make the case, as President Obama did -- then Senator Obama four years ago -- for change.

And then he has to prove that he's a viable alternative.

So part of it is personal, part of it is why he thinks the other guy should be retired. And then he has to make the case here's my alternative. At a time when -- you know this very well, John -- a lot of the American people think the economy is in a funk, they're not sure any politician can fix it. He has to make the case about why he thinks President Obama has handled the economy wrong and then make the case that he can actually -- not only would he be a different president, but people would have a different economy if he wins the election.

MANN: John, obviously the speech is a chance for Romney to sell himself to voters. And to some extent that is a marketing job. Let's take a moment and listen to Paul Steinhauser showing us how Republicans are trying to brand Mitt Romney.



PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: It's job number one at the Republican Convention.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need president Mitt Romney.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: President Romney, boy I like the sound of that.

STEINHAUSER: Call it the selling of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's filling in the blanks on Mitt Romney and telling voters who he is.

STEINHAUSER: From highlighting his resume.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney turned businesses around in the private sector.

STEINHAUSER: To describing what he'd do as president.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: Mitt Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear to put us back on a path to growth and great good paying private sector jobs again in America.

STEINHAUSER: While most polls, like our latest CNN/ORC survey, indicate the race for the White House as a dead heat, most polls also indicate Romney lags behind President Barack Obama when it comes to relating to the average voter. And even though he's been running for president on and off for six years, most Americans don't know Mitt Romney the man, that's where his wife Ann comes in.

ANN ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY'S WIFE: I know this good and decent man for what he is. He's warm and loving and patient.

STEINHAUSER: Now it's her husband's turn on the podium.

CRAIG ROMNEY, SON OF MITT ROMNEY: I think it's a great opportunity for people to get to see him in a, you know, very unfiltered way, to get to hear his story and his vision for the country. I think in large parts he's been defined by the opposition up to this point. And it's a chance for him to -- you know the voters to get to know what kind of candidate he really is.

STEINHAUSER: What will he say? Romney hasn't said much about his speech other than a share that he wants to highlight.

MITT ROMNEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: America is going to get on track and we're going to get this economy really going again.

STEINHAUSER: But his top strategist gave us an appetizer.

STUART STEVENS, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN SR. STRATEGIST: It'll be a clear vision of a Romney presidency and very much from his heart about America and why he wants to be president and what a presidency will be like.

STEINHAUSER: With the nation watching, this convention and Romney's prime time speech are incredibly important opportunities, opportunities the Romney campaign wants to leverage. Paul Steinhauser, CNN, Tampa, Florida.


MANN: Let's take a quick look at some of Romney's key policy ideas. He says if elected, for example, he could add 12 million jobs in four years, 12 million. That's an average of 250,000 jobs a month, every month. And it would represent one of the strongest growth rates in recent times.

Romney also says he would repeal Obamacare, the controversial health reform which seeks to provide health insurance to more than 30 million previously uninsured Americans.

And debt reduction, he's proposing widespread cuts, rather capping government spending at 20 percent of gross domestic product by 2016. Right now it's more than that, much more, at 24 percent.

Well, let's bring back in John King and CNN contributor Ryan Lizza.

Gentleman, let me ask you both about these things. Ryan, why don't we start with you, 12 million jobs. That's a lot of jobs. Can he really do this? And do we know how he proposes to?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, these campaign promises don't always survive contact with Washington when you become president.

Look, a lot of the agenda that Obama ran on kind of ran into not quite disappeared, but shifted quite dramatically after the financial crisis, so Romney doesn't really know what the economy will look like if he wins. 250,000 jobs a month, that's at the high end of growth. And given that we're coming out of a financial crisis that often takes at least five years to recover from, I think that's overly optimistic. So it's a little surprising given that Obama really got hit pretty bad when he made a very optimistic jobs prediction early in his administration, Republicans are still beating him up for not meeting those expectations.

On the other two issues, the 20 percent of GDP, that's right in line with what Republicans in congress want to do. If he's elected, he'll likely have a house run by Republicans, a good chance he'll have a senate run by Republicans, but not the super majority you need in the American senate. And I think he would have a very decent shot at enacting the sort of budgetary ideas that he and Ryan have been talking about in recent months.

MANN: Well, I'm hoping we can come back and talk about that. John King, let's talk about Obamacare. Can he repeal it? Weill congress work with him to literally repeal a program that big and complicated. Do they want that problem right now?

KING: Ryan just hit on the very key point when it comes to repealing the healthcare law. We can call it Obamacare. Even the president embraces that term now.

What does the Senate look like after this election. That is the key questions.

If a Mitt Romney wins, we would assume if he's a Republican is winning the presidency, the Republicans will keep the House of Representatives. Ryan I think is dead on saying if Romney is winning, the Republicans may end up with 51 or maybe 52 seats in the Senate. Maybe they'll get really lucky and have 53 or 54. It takes 60, John.

So even if the Republicans have 54, maybe they'll have 48. Mitt Romney is unlikely to have a filibuster proof Senate. So can he then tell the Senate, can he convince enough conservative Democrats my mandate is to repeal the legislation you fought so hard over early in the Obama presidency. That is a defining question.

Now he says through executive actions he would try to take other steps, but again to Ryan's point candidates say things that are often hard to produce as president. Remember, Barack Obama was going to close Guantanamo Bay within a year. It's still open. There are many more on the list.

That's not to say -- you know, candidate -- being president is being a lot harder than running for president. Would he try? Yes. The big question in my mind is if he had the votes in the congress what would he replace it with? Because remember he didn't talk about it much in the primaries, because it's controversial with conservatives, but his signature initiative in the only other elected political office he's had is the Massachusetts healthcare plan.

LIZZA: And I think this is a difference between the two systems. And sometimes people look at the American system and think, OK, you have a president, a candidate. He runs on a certain platform. In a parliamentary system and most systems around the world that platform immediately gets enacted. In our system, that's just the beginning of the process, winning the White House. With strict separation of powers.

MANN: You're skeptical, but debt reduction, John King, you've covered Washington for a long time, is congress once again, that's not something the president can do alone. Is congress suddenly going to start cutting its budget that dramatically?

KING: Congress is prepared. Both parties understand they have to do something. The dramatically is the giant question mark. And again it will very much depend on who wins the presidency, and let's assume its Mitt Romney for the sake of this conversation. How big are his margins in congress?

The House Republicans are prepared to cut probably more dramatically than a President Romney would be prepared to cut. Then you have to factor into the Senate. Everybody understands the fiscal cliff, but we would carry over, John, into the next presidency, no matter who is the president, the question that has paralyzed these conversations for the past few years which is the Republican Party still says, and we'd have to see if there's change after the election, absolutely no new revenues. We will not raise taxes on anybody as part of a deficit reduction deal. The Democrats say we're not going to give you the deep cuts you want as part of that deal unless we get some revenue increases. So it will be interesting beyond the big speech tonight.

In the presidential debates, do Obama and Romney litigate this issue some so that whoever wins has more of a mandate to go to congress and say the American people demand this.

MANN: Now the reason we're talking about this, probably isn't Mitt Romney, it's Paul Ryan. He has crusaded for budget cuts, for attacking the debt with dramatic difficult decisions. And in fact we heard from him last night he brought the convention to its feet with plenty of pointed attacks on President Obama. Let's listen to one of them.


REP. PAUL RYAN, REPUBLICAN VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.


MANN: Now there is Paul Ryan blaming Barack Obama for economic stagnation, for crushing the dreams of young Americans. Let me ask you both, Paul Ryan said it himself last night. He's a different generation than Mitt Romney. He listens to AC/DC and Led Zeppelin. We heard him tell the convention last night that they were on his iPod. I don't know how many other people in the room are listening to those kinds of tunes.

Is he making a connection to the younger generation? Is he solving the problem of the Republicans of reaching out to younger Americans?

LIZZA: Ah, this is the big challenge -- the Republican Party, their big obstacle right now is American demography. The party, all of the sectors of our country that are growing are sectors that the Republican Party is struggling with right now. The Republican Party is attracting older, whiter voters. And that's going to be a diminishing share of the American electorate as time goes on.

So not a lot of young voters were brought into the party during the Bush years. And so the Republican Party has a lot of work to do catching up on young voters. Very different than the Reagan years. Reagan captured a whole generation of young Republicans.

So I mean, to be very honest I don't see Romney as the guy that's going to galvanize the youth the way that Obama did, but I do see -- you do see people like Ryan and some of the other leaders that have been on display this week sort of frankly a post-Romney party, Republican Party -- you get a feeling for here in Tampa. People like Christie and Ryan and the folks that a lot of young conservatives are really enthusiastic about.

MANN: But here's the bottom line, John King -- I'm going to interrupt, because the crucial thing is Mitt Romney has been running for president for six years now. How much better is he going to do tonight, do you think? Can he turn things around? Can he get himself elected with the kind of speech we can expect from him tonight?

KING: He won't get elected with a speech tonight, but he could make a dramatic step toward being elected with the speech tonight.

You mentioned the empathy gap at the beginning of this conversation. The fundamental issue in the American election right now is the economy, the economy, the economy. If you ask voters across the country and especially in the key battleground states, the eight or nine states where this will be settled, who do you think would do a better job handling the economy Governor Romney almost always wins on that question over President Obama. But when you say who understands the Middle Class he loses. If he can close that empathy gap then I think he would get a bigger advantage in the race, that is the challenge to convince people he will fight for them - - I hate to say it, it's a Bill Clinton line, but that he will feel their pain and be on their side, John, if he wins the White House.

MANN: John King, Ryan Lizza, thanks very much.

And as we were hearing from them, we've been looking at Mitt Romney preparing at the podium for the speech that we're expecting in about six hours time.

This is a tradition. This man has given a lot of speeches in his career, as have many of the other people who speak at the Republican National Convention, but we have heard every time that one of these conventions is held that the podium feels different, the stage is so enormous, the venue is so enormous, that people are startled when they first go out to address the convention delegates.

Well, this is such an important speech that Mitt Romney is taking no chances. They have walked everyone through who has had a speech to give at the convention, but they are taking special care with Mitt Romney some 30, maybe 40 million people will be listening tonight as he speaks on television. This is an opportunity he wants to get exactly right.

Well, stay with CNN for more live coverage and expert analysis from Tampa. We continue tonight starting at midnight if you're watching from London, 1:00 am in Berlin.

Still to come tonight, Syria had been attending a key summit in Iran until comments made by the new Egyptian president. What did Mohammed Morsi say to make the Syrian delegation storm out?

Also, detained and desperate in Iran, the former U.S. Marine accused of spying. Now his family has fresh hope he will be cleared.

And we'll have all the latest news from day one of the Paralympic games in London. All that an more when Connect the World continues.


MANN: You're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World. I'm Jonathan Mann. Welcome back.

Syria's delegation at the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Iran has walked out of the conference after comments by the new Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi. He said the Syrian regime was oppressive and called it a moral obligation to help Syria's opposition.

His remarks came on a day when at least 94 people were killed in the civil war, according to the opposition.

At the United Nations, meantime, Britain and France pledged to boost their humanitarian aid funding to Syria while calling for those who support President Bashar al-Assad to think carefully about their position.

CNN, senior UN correspondent Richard Roth is watching developments in New York and joins us now.

Some crucial countries kept their ministers away, but some were there. Was there progress to report?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not very much progress. In fact, here is a meeting of the UN security council months into the Syria crisis. And yes, several countries sent their foreign ministers, their foreign secretaries. But notably absent Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Secretary of State inside the council chamber and also the German foreign minister. Scheduling commitments.

The French were the ones who drove this meeting to be scheduled. They're the current president for this month of the security council. But despite all of their tough, impassioned talk they admit the council is heavily divided. This was a meeting about humanitarian issues. The French foreign minister now speaking to the council.

The Turkish nation, the most passionate presentation, making sharp, candid comments about the ineffectiveness of the security council on this issue and asking for humanitarian help inside Syria because it says its own nation and the other surrounding countries, they can't handle the refugee overflow.


AHMET DAVUTOGLU, TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER: According to (inaudible) there are more than two million internally displaced people in Syria. In the face of such a humanitarian disaster the UN should initiate the establishment of IDP camps within Syria without delay.

Needless to say, these camps should have full protection.


ROTH: Now, I've talked to several diplomats. And of course the idea of these refugee camps being set up with security protection, likely international forces perhaps, that's highly problematic and a potentially tinder box there, because Syria regard it as some sort of military intervention. The Syrian president in a TV interview this week saying it's not practical to set up these type of buffer zones and camps.

But the Turks reminded the security council of the echoes of Srebrenica and elsewhere where these crises have flowed into massacres and other disasters, because the international community was silent.

When asked earlier in the day about the idea of these buffer zones, the British foreign secretary was cautious.


WILLIAM HAGUE, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: We also have to be clear that anything like a safe zone requires military intervention. And that, of course, is something that has to be weighed very carefully. And of course it is not something to which the United Nations security council has assented or would be likely to assent to in current circumstances. And so there are considerable difficulties with such an idea.

But we are not ruling out any option for the future.


ROTH: I mean, all of this is interesting talk, Jonathan, but the odds seem quite slim.

Everybody has got their own reason not to do anything, or blame someone else when it comes to Syria -- Jonathan.

MANN: Richard Roth at the UN. Thanks very much.

Another story we're following closely, Tom Crone, the former legal adviser for Rupert Murdoch's News International has been arrested. Detectives investigating phone hacking at the former News of the World tabloid detained the barrister in his home Thursday. Our senior international correspondent Dan Rivers has more.


DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Tom Crone was the top lawyer at the disgraced and now closed tabloid the News of the World. And he was arrested at his house in southwest London at 6:45 in the morning London time, held in custody for more than 12 hours.

He's the 25th person to be arrested as part of Operation: Wheating (ph) . This massive police inquiry into phone hacking. His wife Patty spoke briefly to CNN confirming his arrest and saying that he has a clear conscience.

Tom Crone fell out very publicly with James and Rupert Murdoch after this scandal broke, especially when Rupert Murdoch told the Leveson inquiry into press ethics that phone hacking had been covered up at the newspaper by a clever lawyer. He later described that comment as a shameful lie.

Many of his former colleagues at the News of the World have actually been charged now with phone hacking, including two former editors Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks.

Dan Rivers, CNN, London.


MANN: A short break now, but when we come back Manchester City may have a lot of money, but when it comes to the Champion's League they don't seem to have much luck. We'll explain, next.


MANN: You're watching Connect the World. Welcome back. I'm Jonathan Mann.

The action is underway at the London Paralympics where the movement started, or at least the country where the movement started, 64 years ago. Since then, the games have become the world's second biggest multi-sport event behind only the Olympics.

Like the London games, the first gold medal of the London Paralympics has been won by a Chinese shooter. Take a boy Qui Ping Jiang (ph).

There are 31 other golds up for grabs on this opening day.

Let's bring in Mark McKay to talk about another woman who won gold. And who is in fact no stranger to gold.

MARK MCKAY, CNN SPORTS CORREPSONDENT: Not at all, John. Been there, done that. She's 34 year old British cyclist Sarah Storey. And she went out on Thursday and claimed her eighth Paralympics gold medal, winning the women's C5 individual three kilometer sprint in London. The athlete who was born without a functioning left hand won five Paralympic gold medals in swimming before switching to the bike in 2008, which led to two more titles in Beijing. She has one more gold to add to her collection. And this is an interesting, I wouldn't even call it a side not. I'd throw this right up toward the headline of this story.

Sarah's story went out, John, with a qualifying time before winning this gold. That qualifying time would have won her a non-disabled title. So -- I know -- you have the same kind of humor that I do, so Sarah, a great story.

MANN: A great story. And amazing. And we move on.

MANN: Not the only Paralympian also who succeeds against fully able- bodied athletes.

But let's move on. The Champion's League draw. The group of death rears its ugly head. There always is one. And there's always Pedro Pinto to announce it.

MANN: Yeah, yeah. Pedro, of course, he'll be on with us on World Sport next hour to talk about another hosting gig in Monaco, this time as the Champion's League draw was held on Thursday night.

Yeah, it's the aptly named group of death. D -- Group D is the group of death. And here is why, John, it reunites the champions of Spain, England, the Netherlands, and Geramny. Real Madrid, Manchester City, Ajax, Borussia Dortmund.

Now just last night, Real Madrid claimed their first Spanish Super Cup in four years, beating Barcelona. The nine time winners of this competition will be ones to watch. Christiano Ronaldo, though, is on record as saying, yes, this indeed is the most difficult group. But he added we're ready to compete with everyon.e

You mentioned Manchester City before the break, they claim their first Premier title in 44 years last season, but they cannot get a break in this competition. Yes, they have a lot of money to splash around, but last season Roberton Mancini's men were drawn in a group similarly taxing as this one. And they failed to reach the knockout stage.

And as a -- if you're thinking somebody that might pull a surprise, maybe Dortmund is the team in this group, although they've got a mighty task. If you think that them challenging the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester City, Ajax will be worrisome to the manager of Borussia Dortmund, Jurgen Clump (ph) delighted to stare down the challenge says the outsiders, Dortmund, have in his words a lot to achieve.

In that they do. We'll see if they can make it out.

MANN: Mark McKay, thanks very much.

Still to come on Connect the world, the latest world headlines plus we'll go live to South Africa where 270 mine workers are facing murder charges now, the fallout after police shot and killed 34 miners earlier this month.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He couldn't stop crying. He was crying and then what -- and then he was all asking, mom, I don't know why I'm here.


MANN: A CNN exclusive, we speak to the family of an American being held in Iran on spying charges. And why the chance of a happy homecoming now hinges on a retrial


JONATHAN MANN, HOST: A warm welcome to our viewers across Europe and around the world. I'm Jonathan Mann and these are the latest world headlines from CNN.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is getting ready for the speech of his life. He's been touring the site ahead of tonight's convention address to accept his party's nomination.

Advisers say the biggest goal is to increase Romney's likability and show that he understands ordinary Americans and their struggles.

Syrian rebels say they have shot down a government warplane in Idlib Province. This amateur video is said to show the wreckage.

Opposition activists say at least 94 people were killed in violence across Syria today.

U.N. Security Council is meeting right now, discussing ways to ease the humanitarian crisis in Syria. Turkey is calling on the U.N. to set up camps for the displaced persons inside of Syria, saying it can't handle the huge number of refugees coming across its borders.

270 South African miners involved in riots have been charged with murder after 34 colleagues were allegedly shot and killed by police this month. They are being charged under South African law, that faults them for being involved in the clashes

U.N.'s nuclear watchdog says Iran has doubled its production capacity at its Fordo nuclear facility, where around 3,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges from 1,000 back in May. Fordo is dug into a mountain which could protect it from any possible attack.

South African authorities have charged 270 miners with murder, after 34 miners died earlier this month. The charges come even though police are believed to have fired the fatal shots. Authorities say the miners have been charged under a common law provision, that would fault them for being involved in the incident. No police have been charged.

Let's get very latest from CNN's Nkepile Mabuse joining us now on the line from Pretoria.

Nkepile, the police acknowledged firing. They said at the time, it was in self-defense but they are charging the miners for murder.

Can you walk us through this?

It's utterly confusing.

NKEPILE MABUSE, CNNI CORRESPONDENT: Very confusing, bizarre is actually the word that some legal experts are using.

In fact, one constitutional law professor, Jonathan, says, it's a flagrant abuse of criminal -- of the criminal justice system and he believes that it will never stand in a court of law.

The police, as you said, have always maintained that they acted in self- defense. Now, what they're basically saying is that it is the miners who endangered their own dead colleague's lives by provoking the police and therefore it's the risk of miners themselves, who should be found guilty of the 34 murders.

They are also telling us that some of the dead miners were shot in the back and this means that they could have been shot by people that were on strike with them.

Extremely bizarre, it's a development that is being viewed here with a lot of suspicion by people on the ground. A massive (INAUDIBLE) defense though -- defense attorneys are opposing the inclusion of this charge and arguments for and against will be heard next week Thursday, when we expect a magistrate to make a final ruling on this, Jonathan.

MANN: So for the time been, are the police rounded up everyone who was in the crowd and survived?

Are they essentially turning every potential witness into a murder suspect?

MABUSE: Not really. They plan to charge more than 300 people. Some of these people are still being treated at various hospitals, you know, in the vicinity of where this happened.

The general feeling Jonathan here, in this country is that the police were not well trained to deal with this uncontrollable crowd and that they overreacted and they made a huge mistake and now they are trying to put, this all on the miners, themselves.

Something else that we need to keep in mind Jonathan, is that two police officers were killed during this violent wage dispute, that had been going on for almost a week before this confrontation with the police and there is certainly a feeling here in South Africa that this may be an attempt by the police, to get justice for the police officers that were killed because they still haven't arrested anybody in connection with the two police officer's death, who were really brutally murdered, hacked to death, with machetes, Jonathan.

MANN: What's been the reaction through the country, obviously the earlier violence saddened and horrified a lot of people but now these charges I mean, has a new spread?

Have political leaders, union leaders had a chance to respond?

MABUSE: People are generally outraged and I think what is giving people a little bit of hope, is that, you know, the courts here in south Africa seem to be generally fair and independent and everybody is waiting to see what the final decision will be that (INAUDIBLE) magistrate will make.

We expect that he will hear these arguments next week Thursday. We don't know if he'll make his ruling on that day. He may actually wait for the trial to unfold and say I reserve my judgment for now. I'll listen to the whole trial and then make a final decision afterwards.

But I think a lot of people do have confidence in the courts, that they will make the right decision, John.

MANN: Certainly if they see the video that we have been watching, while you have been talking. This is the day of the massacre. It is sobering to see what the police did.

Nkepile Mabuse has been following the story from the start.

Thanks very much.

But now, this strange legal step. How significant is the use of this common law provision in this case?

And what's the potential follow-up likely to be?

Nic Dawes is the editor-in-chief of South Africa's Mail and Guardian newspaper. He joins us live from Johannesburg.

Let me ask you first of all, is this law invoked a lot?

NIC DAWES, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF SOUTH AFRICA'S MAIL AND GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER: Certainly not. It was invoked heavily in the dying days of apartheid by a system that was trying to criminalize protests.

It's called, the Doctrine of Common Purpose and they used it to prosecute for murder, people who were in crowds, where killings took place, even if those people didn't throw a stone or fire a gun themselves.

So, it's widely regarded as a hangover from that period.

MANN: And in this circumstance, it would seem at least, from a distance, to offer immunity to the police who were firing the weapons because it would seem that even if it can be demonstrated that someone did fire a weapon, if they were wearing a police uniform, it was the protesters were to blame.

DAWES: Well, I think it's an extraordinary stretch, even of the kind of interpretation that the apartheid prosecutors used to use.

The idea that a crowd of protesters, even violent protesters, as these were, can be held responsible for their own deaths, when they died in a fusillade of semi-automatic rifle fire, is just extraordinary and it's gonna make a lot of people in South Africa very angry.

MANN: I'm just curious at what level of Government we would've expected a decision to make these kinds of charges, to be made.

Would it have been made locally, by a police official?

Would it have been made higher up, within the government?

DAWES: Strictly speaking, it should be made independently by the prosecutor, who is working on this case within our National Prosecuting Authority.

However, there is a huge amount of controversy in South Africa, quite separate from this incident at the moment, about the political independence of that prosecuting authority.

And there is a great deal of concern here, that the leadership of that prosecuting authority is increasingly politicized and that it increasingly response to orders from the Jacob Zuma Administration rather than acting independently on the basis of the law.

MANN: What does this do to Jacob Zuma?

I mean, he was in an awkward position at the outset but now I would imagine, even more so. He's ordered an inquiry. This seems to side-step the inquiry entirely?

DAWES: Well that's one of the difficult things here, is that, the inquiry has been set up with for broad terms of reference and good terms of reference that many people welcomed, that gave a Retired Judge Ian Farlem wide powers to investigate what happened.

Meanwhile, this criminal process against the miners is continuing with seeming impunity for the police.

So, those two parallel processes are gonna make it difficult for people to feel that the inquiry has full credibility and full power, to go after these things in an unbiased way.

MANN: And there were already political overtones over this, a conflict between many members, well, many workers in the mines and their own unions, certainly the miner's union and the ANC.

How does the politics now sort out with this very, very strange decision to blame the miners?

DAWES: Well one of the things that I think is happening here is that the ANC and its union allies have historically been the parties of natural legitimacy for working people (INAUDIBLE) and in the strike, we saw a situation where they no longer had that natural legitimacy, where they didn't have the natural trust of people who historically have trusted them.

And instead, a new union was the repository of people's hopes and this violent protest happened.

How did they respond to that?

Well, they seem to be responding with quite an authoritarian action and as these kinds of protests grow all across the country, that concern for many of us will be that we'll see more authoritarian responses.

MANN: Nic Dawes of the (INAUDIBLE) Mail and Guardian once again, while we were watching it, that horrific video, while you spoke.

The case continues.

Thanks very much.

Still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD, held in and Iranian prison as a convicted spy, now waiting to hear whether he'll live or die.

We talked to the family of the former American Marine.


MANN: Welcome back, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

"Why is nobody helping me?"

The words of desperation of a former U.S. Marine being held in Iran and a question his distraught family back in the United States is struggling to answer.

It's been a year since 29-year-old Amir Hekmati was arrested. Iran accused him of spying for the CIA.

A Tehran court originally sentenced the Iranian American to death but Iran Supreme Court has since ordered a retrial.

Now his family faces an anxious wait for a new verdict. Paula Newton has this CNN exclusive.

B. HEKMATI: I was surprised. We were shocked.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean you're watching your son confess here to spying for the CIA.


HEKMATI: My name is Amir. Amir Mirzaei Hekmati.


NEWTON: You're watching his confession on TV, on Iranian TV. I mean, what were your thoughts, as you saw this?

I mean, what were you thinking?

B. HEKMATI: They forced him to do that and then, that's not true. He -- we knew it, they knew he was a -- he was the military because they -- he told -- in the (INAUDIBLE) of Iran he was (INAUDIBLE) military.

NEWTON: The Hekmati family says Amir is an all-American guy. A former Marine, he served in Iraq, was born in Arizona, raised in Nebraska and Michigan, a sports fanatic and above all a family man, who longed to visit his Iranian grandmother, he was so close to.

But after just two weeks in Iran, Amir was arrested and is now a convicted spy. He's been held for a year now, living with the threat of execution.

B. HEKMATI: He's not the spy. He's not --

NEWTON: Are you --

Yvonne, -- working for CIA. We know that.

NEWTON: The State Department also denies Hekmati was spying for the U.S. Government and calls this case is a gross miscarriage of justice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We never thought he should've been arrested. We've been trying -- because he's a dual U.S. Iranian national, we've been trying to get access to him since he was originally locked up, appealing through the Swiss protecting power to the Iranian's.

The Iranian's have never allowed us to go to see him.

NEWTON: The Iranian government has also refused to comment to CNN.

Hekmati does have an Iranian government approved lawyer that communicates with his family, although only sporadically.

His mother has traveled to Iran three times and has been granted limited visit.

B. HEKMATI: He was skinny, pale, he's like a chalk. Face was like a chalk. He couldn't -- he couldn't stop crying. He was crying and then (INAUDIBLE) and he was all asking, "Mom, I don't know why I'm here. Mom I don't know why it takes so long. You know, why nobody help, me?"

NEWTON: It is with some reluctance that the Hekmati family is now going public after a terrifying year of fearing the worst Amir's twin sister says they had to speak out.

L. HEKMATI: At nights I just think about him and I just feel so helpless. I feel like I can't do anything. Just please bring him home.

B. HEKMATI: I want just ask President Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Khomeini that -- these two is our only hope -- hope for me. These two can bring Amir home. He is in prison, it's like we all in prison.

L. HEKMATI: The struggle is -- the lack of communication, what this has done to us. You know, going (INAUDIBLE) and (INAUDIBLE) daily, weekly and visiting on holidays (INAUDIBLE) actually nothing.

NEWTON: What you think is your best chance of getting him home?

A. MEKHATI: Well it's gonna take some cooperation from a Iranian leaders. The leadership needs to show some leniency and some cooperation in helping out a crying mother and sister and a father who loves his son dearly.

B. HEKMATI: That was another picture. We love this picture.

NEWTON: This family says there worst fear is that Amir will become a political pawn and that they are only choice now, is to put themselves at the mercy of Iran's leaders.

Paula Newton CNN, Flint, Michigan.

MANN: U.S. State Department released a statement on the case. It says it's relieved that Iran Supreme Court overturned the death sentence verdict but remains troubled by Mr. Hekmati's lack of legal rights.

It also said it's concerned over reports of Mr. Hekmati's health condition, in prison.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

When we come back, from the frontline to the starting line. Meet the ex- service personnel, hoping to turn what could have been tragedy into gold.


MANN: Welcome back. Eight wounded former members of the British Armed Forces are taking part in this year's Paralympics. That's seven more than went to Beijing. As more wounded service personnel come through rehabilitation after fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The (INAUDIBLE) are expecting that eight to more than double by the time Rio comes around.

Matthew Chance met the Paralympians who've gone from the frontline, to fighting for gold.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was injured in (INAUDIBLE) Iraq by rocket attack. (INAUDIBLE) to me in the wrong place, wrong time. (INAUDIBLE) from a rocket that lacerated my left arm and (INAUDIBLE) amputation. (INAUDIBLE) in cycling. (INAUDIBLE) cycling (INAUDIBLE) sport.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN'S SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For Jon-Allen Butterworth, and Air Force veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, it's been an agonizing journey from battlefield to racetrack.

His injuries were so horrific he spent 12 months in rehab only finding sport after intensive therapy.

Now, he's a double world champion, his sights firmly trained on Paralympic gold.

BUTTERWORTH: I've never had any aspirations to be an athlete. It came after -- after the explosion, after (INAUDIBLE) back kind of, you know, introduced me to sports and I tried some different sports out and you know, I got into (INAUDIBLE) cycling sort of was good.

CHANCE: It is a very sobering thought but there are now more military veterans injured in battle, competing in the Paralympics than have been for years.

If it weren't for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, people like Jon-Allen Butterworth would have had for different lives and each has a remarkable story of survival.

Derek Derenalagi, now a gold hopeful in the discus, had his legs blown off in Afghanistan. He said he was being zipped into a body about, when Army medics noticed he still had a pulse.

Samantha Bowen, a Royal Artillery gunner was so badly injured in Iraq, she said her comrades couldn't recognize her. Now she's a key member of Britain's Paralympics sitting volleyball team.

Captain Nick Beighton lost his legs in Afghanistan and he's hoping for a medal in rowing.

Former Gurkha soldier, Netra Rana was injured in Afghanistan too. Sports he says, has restored his self-respect.

RANA: We just don't wanna, you know, just sit on the corner and hide. We just wanna come forward and do what we wanna do and that's the mentality of, you know, of being in the Army.

CHANCE: These are not athletes given to regret.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) think of it now, it's probably the best thing other that ever happened to me. It's kind of, you know, I've met new people. I've, you know, tried to (INAUDIBLE) in sports, do most of the things since, you know, that I never did before. And yeah, it's gonna make me the person I am today and you know, I have changed since, you know, I kind of lose my arm but I think only for the better.

CHANCE: It's testament that sports can change lives for the better, even lives shattered by war.

Matthew Chance, CNN in London.

MANN: And if you wanna follow what's happening at the Paralympics, visit our live blog

And we're taking to Google for tonight's parting shots. John Rathman is an artist was been working on the project since 2008, trawling through all of "GOOGLE'S STREET VIEWS" from around the world and he's made some surprising discoveries


RATHMAN: My project was Street Views, emerged out of my artistic practice of surfing the web for inspiration.

I saw in Google Street View (INAUDIBLE) a virtual world that was so vast that it -- it was a -- it was a (INAUDIBLE) on any level, as a sublime. Never before in history had anyone undergone this project that literally -- photographing the entire free world, from a pedestrian's perspective.

Because all the images are captured by this roving robotic camera and you know, there's no real photographer. Nobody has ever actually made it look (INAUDIBLE) images, so then there is an excitement there.


MANN: Amazing stuff.

I'm Jonathan Mann and this has been CONNECT THE WORLD.

Thanks for watching.

The headlines are next, after this short break.


MANN: This is CNN, the world news leader.

I'm Jonathan Mann with the headlines, this hour.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is getting ready for the speech of his life. He's been touring the site ahead of tonight's convention address to accept the Republican Party's nomination.

Advisers say the biggest goal is to increase his likability and show that he understands ordinary Americans struggles.

Syrian rebels say they have shot down a government warplane in Idlib Province. This amateur video is said to show the wreckage.

Opposition activists say at least 94 people were killed in violence across the country today.

270 miners on strike at the Lonmin mine in South Africa have been charged with murder after 34 of their colleagues were shot and killed last week by police. They're being charged under South African law that faults them for being involved in the clashes.

U.S. warns Iran that the window for diplomacy is narrowing after a new report on the Iranian nuclear program. The U.N.'s watchdog agency says, Iran has doubled production capacity at its Fordo facility in just the last few months. It says the underground site now has 2,000 centrifuges for uranium enrichment. Iran denies it is trying to build nuclear weapons.

And those were the headlines from CNN, the world news leader.

AMANPOUR starts right now.