Return to Transcripts main page


Anti-Islamic Video Inflames Conservatives Across The Middle East; Professor Sid Wakins Dies

Aired September 13, 2012 - 16:00   ET


ZAIN VERJEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tonight on Connect the World, the wave of anger spreads: four people are killed as protesters stormed the U.S. embassy in Yemen, furious over a film attacking Islam.

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

VERJEE: As more details emerge about the filmmaker, we're going to take a look at who is stoking the anger and the fears that worse could yet be to come.

Also tonight, stocks soar after America's economy gets a much needed boost.

And it won't win any Oscars, so what's all the fuss over this piece of cinematic history.

First, outrage at a film that insults the Prophet Mohammed and it's spreading across the Muslim world.

This was the scene in Yemen today as protesters stormed the U.S. embassy. It's just one of many countries where anger is spilling onto the street. This map shows how widespread the protests are from Morocco all the way to Iran. Some of the worst violence, of course, has been in Libya where authorities have now made at least one arrest in the attack that killed four Americans. The U.S. government is strongly condemning the anti-Islam film and the violent reaction.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: There is no justification, none at all, for responding to this video with violence. We condemn the violence that has resulted in the strongest terms. And we greatly appreciate that many Muslims in the United States and around the world have spoken out on this issue.


VERJEE: We have three live reports for you on the story. Ben Wedeman is in Cairo where demonstrations are stretching into the night. Mohammed Jamjoom is in CNN Beirut with the very latest on the deadly protests in Yemen. And Jomana Karadsheh is in Tripoli following all of the latest developments in Libya.

Ben, let's start with you, let's happening with the protests right now?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the protests are still going on. In fact, you may be able to hear in the background tear gas being fired by the Egyptian police who are around the American embassy. It's really been sort of a back and forth battle all day long between the protesters who number in a few hundred and the security forces.

Now we did have an opportunity to speak with some of the protesters outside the American embassy. They said they personally blamed President Obama for this film that so inflamed emotions across the Muslim world.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Our demand is that President Barack Obama appears and makes an official apology to all Islamic nations, that is our right. We also want the tape burned, and all those involved in insulted the prophet punished.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This is a mark of shame to Mohammed Morsi. He should expel the American ambassador from Egypt and pull the Egyptian ambassador from America, that's the least he should do after what those cots did in America.


WEDEMAN: Now the Egyptian authorities say at least 200 people have been injured in these clashes. Tomorrow, the Muslim Brotherhood, which is affiliated of course with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, is going to be organizing protests across Egypt against this Islamic -- anti-Islamic trailer that appeared on YouTube, but they stress they will be peaceful demonstrations. And they will not hold any demonstrations in the area of the American embassy in Cairo -- Zain.

VERJEE: CNN's Ben Wedeman reporting from Cairo.

Let's get an update now on developments in Yemen from Mohammed Jamjoom. Mohammed, what are you hearing now about the situation in Sanaa?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Zain, eye witnesses telling us that the situation has calmed substantially outside the U.S. embassy now than where it was several hours ago. Earlier in the day we had reports that there were at least 2,000 people, 2,000 angry demonstrators marching towards the U.S. embassy upset because of this film that denigrated the Prophet Mohammed. Was saw pictures throughout the day of Yemeni security forces using water cannons to try to disperse these protesters. We also heard reports that Yemeni security forces had shot warning -- had fired warning shots into the air trying to disperse this angry crowd.

Still, we also got reports that many of these protesters were able to breach the security of the embassy, that outer perimeter, start scaling the wall and that's why there's so much concern.

Now there was a statement from Yemeni president Abd al-Rab Mansur al- Hadi in which he apologized to U.S. President Barack Obama and to the American people for this attack. He said it was unacceptable, called upon Yemeni security forces to investigate this thoroughly and said whoever was found to be responsible for this would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

But many of the activists and eyewitnesses spoke with today in Sanaa were just flabbergasted that this could happen, that an angry mob would be able to get as close as they did to the U.S. embassy, which is one of the most protected sites not just in the capital of Yemen but in all of Yemen itself -- Zain.

VERJEE: Mohammed Jamjoom reporting.

Well, the violence in Libya stands apart from the other protests because of suspected al Qaeda involvement. Let's bring in Jomana Karadsheh in Tripoli to tell us about the arrest made today.

Jomana, what do we know?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Zain, we're hearing from the Libyan government officials announcing that there investigations are making great progress. They say that they have a number of suspects in custody. A short while ago our own Christiane Amanpour spoke with Libya's prime minister, newly elected prime minister Mustafa Abushagur. Here is what he had to say about these arrests.


MUSTAFA ABUSHAGUR, LIBYAN PRIME MINISTER: They were arrested in Benghazi, yes, early this morning and there is others who right now they are being pursued.

There's one who was arrested this morning and there is other -- I think about three or four currently being pursued and I think they might have been arrested in the last few minutes.


KARADSHEH: And Zain, those being pursued mentioned by the prime minister there may have indeed detained. We heard from the deputy interior minister for the eastern part of Libya saying that they have made a number of arrests today and that the investigation and interrogation are underway to see what links these men have to the attack that took place at the consulate.

Asked by Christiane Amanpour who this group is, the prime minister said that the investigation is underway. They do not know who this group is, but said the suspicion is that this is an extremist group.

So, Zain, if they have indeed arrested members of these extremist groups, these militant groups in the eastern part of Libya that the government really has not been able to confront. That will be great progress made by the Libyan government, but we will have to wait and see if these suspects were indeed involved in this attack.

VERJEE: Jomana Karadsheh reporting from Tripoli, Mohammed Jamjoom reporting from Beirut, and Ben Wedeman reporting from Cairo for us tonight, thanks so much.

And just after our program, you can watch the full interview with Libya's prime minister. So stay watching CNN.

Now so far the unrest has not spread to Afghanistan and the government is trying to make sure that it stays that way. Authorities there have ordered an indefinite ban on YouTube to block access to the film. The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan is among those concerned that protests may erupt after Friday prayers.


JAMES CUNNINGHAM, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO AFGHANISTAN: We hope those instances will be isolated as possible and that people will realize that this really is the work of a very, very small group of people who are able to use modern technology to spread what they do more widely, but it doesn't represent anything, really, except disrespect and that overreacting to it is in a way rewarding this or responding to this disrespect.


VERJEE: Our next guest believes that we haven't seen the worst of these protests yet. Maajid Nawaz is director and co-founder of Quilliam, a think tank that challenges Islamic extremism. Now he knows the subject really well as a former extremist himself.

Let's start with why you believe these protests will escalate?

MAAJID NAWAZ, CO-FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN, QUILLIAM: Well, tomorrow is holy day for Muslims, it's Friday, and that means that most Muslims in most Muslim majority nations will be out for their Friday prayers. And traditionally when people want to protest, what they do is they gather outside mosques on Friday prayers at a rallying point to attract people around the core of the demonstration and then move off to a procession to whatever the destination is in this instance likely to be an American embassy or a consulate.

So I think tomorrow is going to be a very dangerous day for us and we have to watch it very carefully.

VERJEE: What can be done to prevent it from escalating? And how many people really believe in the more extremist interpretation of the film?

NAWAZ: So the people that believe in the extremist reaction to the film are a tiny minority within countries such as Egypt or Libya. In Libya it was a handful of organized terrorists, in fact, it wasn't the majority of the population whatsoever. In Egypt, it's a larger significant proportion of a group who has currently the presidency of the nation. They've encouraged people to demonstrate. However, they are not terrorists. They will not be agitating for violence. So again, even despite that, they are in a minority.

But it is very dangerous. And I think that there is a danger that things will get out of hand and out of control.

What can be done? Well, I think we have -- if I can sit here on CNN and say to you that we're worried about tomorrow, then I'm sure governments in those countries must already be preparing. And if not they should be preparing for tomorrow and what it will bring. And it's their absolute priority and duty to safeguard embassies in their countries. And that's what should be happening in Egypt. And I'm more worried about countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan.

VERJEE: We'll talk about that again in just a few moments. Maajid Nawaz, stay with us.

Connect the World is following all of the angles of this story. Coming up, what we know now about the producer behind the offensive movie that's been sparking these protests. In the last 24 hours, the FBI have spoken to him, but who is he? We're going to bring you up to date.

Also tonight, as the U.S. jobs market continues to flounder, the Federal Reserve announces a multibillion dollar investment plan.

And they were billionaires who set out to build a mega-mansion, but then the financial crisis hit. A new documentary bids farewell to the American dream.


VERJEE: You're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World with me, Zain Verjee. Welcome back.

It has been a positive end of the day, thank goodness, for the markets. They bounced on the news that the U.S. Federal Reserve is to invest a massive $40 billion in mortgage backed securities each month.

Our chief business correspondent Ali Velshi joins me now from New York to explain it all. Hey, Ali.


I've got to tell you, you know I've been in this business awhile, but quantitative easing is probably the worst named thing in the world, because it's not intuitive as to what it is. I want to show you a picture of the what the Federal Reserve is basically doing.

So on the left of your screen you're going to see the Federal Reserve. And what it is doing, is it's buying bonds, it's taking bonds back from the bank, which is the middle of your screen, and it's giving them cash. $40 billion as you just said every month.

What's the bank going to do with that? Well, in theory the bank then lends it out to either businesses to open up shops and factories, or to people who want to borrow it for homes, and that creates economic activity.

The theory is that if you were going to expand your business, let's say, because you wanted to employ more people, there's more demand for your services, but you couldn't get the money, having $40 billion extra in the economy every month is going to make it more accessible for you to get a loan, it's going to make it easier to get that loan.

In practice, it's unsure that's going to work, because Zain what kind of business wants to expand and build more stores and plants if there isn't demand for the product? There isn't demand until people are feeling secure about their future and are prepared to spend.

So unclear what effect it will have, but that's what the quantitative easing is.

VERJEE: All right, Ali Velshi, thanks so much. Great to see you.

VELSHI: And you.

VERJEE: Germany's president has signed Europe's permanent bailout fund into German law. Now it's seen as paving the way for a regional fiscal pact and a more integrated EU. On Wednesday, the European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, used his state of the union speech to suggest a new federal Europe.

Speaking to Richard Quest he said, "closer political union was necessary."


JOSE MANUEL BARROSO, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: The reality is that decisions are all, all of them, for more integration. We have already in some areas a federal system. We have an independent federal bank, it's the European Central Bank. We have just now cleared the way for establishing European Stability Mechanism that has a capital that is comparable to the IMF. So it's European IMF now.

So indeed I believe this federation, it's unavoidable if we want to keep a single currency.


VERJEE: Here's a look now at some other stories connecting our world tonight.

Pakistani police have launched a murder probe against the owners of a Karachi factory. Up to more than 250 people died in a fire this week. Investigators have learned that the factory's exit doors were locked trapping hundreds of workers inside the burning building. Recovery crews are working to find several people still unaccounted for. It's the worst industrial accident in Pakistan's history.

The new UN and Arab League envoy to Syria has arrived in Damascus. It's Lakhtar Brahimi's first visit to the country since he took up the position in August. Brahimi says he hopes to contribute to ending the violence. He's supposed to meet with President Assad as well as representatives to the Syrian opposition. More than 27,000 people have been killed since the unrest in Syria began.

British and French police are still working to solve the mystery of the French Alps shooting. Four people were found dead on a remote mountain road last Wednesday. Three of the victims appeared to have been shot in the head. Today, the British cyclist who discovered the scene told National Media about his gruesome experience and how he helped save a young girl's life.


BRETT MARTIN, RAF CYCLIST: And she was lying in a position that was in front of his car with its wheel spinning. So my immediate thought was she needed to be moved in case the car lurched forward and she'd run her over or anything. So I sort of gently attended to her and moved her into a position clear of where the vehicle could possibly go, clear of the road and put her in a recovery position as best I could.


VERJEE: An expert panel has blamed the captain of the Costa Concordia for the fatal shipwreck. A pre-trial report leaked to the press in Italy also suggests other officers were to blame along with the ships owners, Costa Crociere. 32 people died when the cruise ship ran aground off the Tuscan coast in January. The company denies culpability and says it abided by the law. A hearing into the disaster is due to begin on October 15.

America paid tribute to the first man on the moon with a special service in Washington. Hundreds of mourners packed the city's national cathedral to remember Neil Armstrong who died last month at the age of 82. The memorial service included a prayer read by one of Armstrong's Apollo 11 crew mates as well as a performance of Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon." The former Treasury secretary John Snow, a friend of Armstrong's, called him the most reluctant of heroes.

We're going to take a short break right now, but when we come back, a sad day for motor racing. The world of Formula 1 pay tribute to the man they called The Prof.


VERJEE: You're watching Connect the World live from London. Welcome back. I'm Zain Verjee.

He never raced a single lap in Formula 1 or any motor sport for that matter, but drivers all around the world are mourning the loss of a true innovator whose impact has saved countless lives.

Don Riddell joins us now as the racing world deals with the loss of a man they call the professor. Don, tell us about him.

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. He was known affectionately as Prof, Professor Sid Watkins. He sadly lost a long fight with cancer, Zain, on Wednesday at the age of 84, but he had made a huge impact in the world of motor racing during a career that lasted more than 30 years.

He came to Formula 1 in 1978 at a time when the sport really had been dealing with spectacular losses and driver deaths for a good 30 years in the 50s, 60s and 70s. F1 was -- it really was -- the era was known as the killer years. They would have at least a dozen drivers killed every single year.

But when Professor Sid Watkins arrived towards the end of the 70s, he really spearheaded a new initiative to take better care of the drivers, to provide better medical assistance and ultimately to ensure that the cars and the tracks that they were racing on were safer.

And that's why today at his passing so many drivers in all forms of motor sport are really passing on their sentiments and their gratitude for all he did for them.

I'm going to show you a couple of comments from drivers. So this is from Rubens Barichello who said "it was Sid Watkins that saved my life in Imola 94. Great guy to be with, always happy. Thanks for everything you have done for us drivers, RIP."

This is from Bruno Senna whose uncle Ehrten (ph) was killed in 1994. Sadly Professor Watkins couldn't do anything for the life of Ehrten Senna (ph), but that accident proved to be a watershed moment. And no Formula 1 driver has died since. Bruno said, "RIP Prof. Sid Watkins. Sad news for us who stay behind."

And it's not just Formula 1 that was impacted by his work, Zain, it was all forms of motor sport that ultimately benefited from his work. Dario Franchitti, the four time Indycar champions said, "Rest in peace Prof Sid Watkins. Every driver in every type of racing around the world owes you a huge debt of gratitude."

There is no doubt, Zain, Prof. Sid Watkins will be missed.


Don, a quick question about golf. There's a 15 year golf prodigy becoming pretty good at showing up so that the more experienced contemporaries out there. Tell us about it.

RIDDELL: Yeah, Lydia Ko, she's the Korean born New Zealander that's just 15 years old, she was in action today at the lady's British Open at Hoylake in England. This is her second major championship that she's played in and she's doing very, very well.

She ended the first round on even par, that's only two shots behind the leaders. And there's a chance that she can actually go ahead and win this thing. She's already set records in professional golf twice this year. She became the LPGA tour's youngest ever winner at the Canadian Open just a couple of months ago. If she does end up beating the world's best players there is a silver lining to that particular cloud. She's an amateur, so she's not trying to take these girl's money. She won't get paid a cent. So, for example, if she wins she would get $400,000, or thereabouts if she was a professional, but she's not. She's an amateur. So she'll get nothing. But she's a great golfer. And she's got a huge future ahead of her.

VERJEE: Don Riddell, thanks so much.

Still to come here on Connect the World, as protests over an anti- Islam film spread, more details are emerging about the producer behind it. We're going to get you the latest on the mysterious filmmaker.

His kitchen chemistry won him worldwide acclaim. The maestro behind snail porridge, bacon and eggs and ice cream spills the beans about his journey to the top.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hated shopping. I probably spent over a million dollars a year...


VERJEE: And it started as a documentary on the super rich, but became a now familiar tale of loss in times of financial crisis. All that and plenty more after the break. This is CNN.


VERJEE: Hi. A warm welcome to our viewers across Europe and around the world. I'm Zain Verjee, and these are the latest world headlines from CNN.

Libya's prime minister tells CNN at least one person has been arrested in the deadly attack on a US consulate. He says several other suspects are being pursued. Tuesday's attack killed the ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.

Outrage over an anti-Muslim film has spread to Yemen. Protesters stormed the US embassy in Sanaa today, some managing to scale the walls. Authorities say violent clashes with police left four protesters dead.

The US Federal Reserve's taking another crack at stimulating the US economy. It's moving forward with another round of quantitative easing. The Fed will buy $40 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities on a monthly basis.

Iran's been officially rebuked over its nuclear program. The UN nuclear agency passed a resolution expressing serious concern, saying Iran has defied demands to suspend uranium enrichment. Iran's envoy to the IAEA said that the resolution was counterproductive.

Mystery surrounds the movie that's considered the catalyst for these protests that are spreading across the Middle East. Here's what we know right now. It's called "Innocence of Muslims," an amateurish, crude production depicting the prophet Mohammed as a womanizing, violence- provoking thug, where portions of dialogue are poorly dubbed in.

CNN is not airing any part of it. Within the past 24 hours, the FBI has spoken to the filmmaker who made the movie, but would not confirm his name. However, a member of the production staff says the producer's name was listed as Abenob Nakoula Bassely. That appeared on paperwork filed with the Screen Actors' Guild.

In a previous media interview, the filmmaker identified himself as Sam Bacile and said he was a 51-year-old Israeli American, a real estate developer from California. Now, Israel's Foreign Ministry says it has no such record.

The cast and crew have issued a statement saying that they were "grossly misled" about how the film would turn out. CNN's Miguel Marquez interviewed an actress who appeared in the film. She was OK being shown on camera, but she asked not to be identified by name because of safety.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She responded to a generic casting call for what was billed as an action-adventure film set 2,000 years ago, a low-budget affair called at the time, "Desert Warrior."

MARQUEZ (on camera): You find yourself in the middle of sort of an international --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nightmare. That's what I find myself in the middle of. Of a world that I've prayed for. For God to help.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Killing is never right.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): In her portion of the script, the prophet Mohammed character was called "George," who was referred to during filming as either Master George or Father Master, never Mohammed. She was paid $500 for a few days' work, but she says the writer-producer, Sam Bacile, liked about film's content.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's very unfair, and I'm very sorry for his -- that man, his family, and everybody else that was hurt.

MARQUEZ: She even phoned Bacile, whom she says remains defiant.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said, "Tell the media that I'm tired of the Muslims killing innocent people."

MARQUEZ: Steve Klein consulted on the film.

MARQUEZ (on camera): The motivation was to spark some change within Islam?

STEVE KLEIN, FILM CONSULTANT: Only of these few fraction -- a fraction of the fraction of these very dangerous men. If we could somehow open up the eyes.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The actress doesn't want her name used, because her family is fearful. But she isn't.

MARQUEZ (on camera): What's your overriding emotion right now? Is it fear, is it anger?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anger and hurt. I'm not afraid. My husband is afraid for me, but I'm not. I'm pretty pissed.

MARQUEZ: This actress also apologized to Muslims for what was portrayed in that film and says if she knew what was in it before it was made, she never would have done it.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, Los Angeles.


VERJEE: Muslim anger over the perceived insults to Islam has flared up several times in the past. In 2005, the publication of a cartoon of the prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper sparked weeks of violent protests across a number of countries.

In 2011, a call by Florida preacher Terry Jones to burn Korans on the anniversary of 9-11 sparked protests in Afghanistan.

And then in February of this year, US soldiers in Afghanistan inadvertently burned copies of the Koran. The incident sparked protests and attacks that left dozens dead, including four American soldiers.

I want to bring back in our guest, Maajid Nawaz, the co-founder of Quilliam, which describes itself as a counter-extremism think tank. He's also a founding member of the Islamist party Hizb ut-Tahrir and served four years in Egyptian prison as an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience.

What is it about this film that is enraging people so much about the prophet Mohammed? Is criticism of the prophet just not OK?

MAAJID NAWAZ, CO-FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN, QUILLIAM: Well, it should be, because of course the prophet himself led by example and forgave people that criticized him, and that's something which these Islamists who are agitating these protests choose to ignore.

So then, the next question should be, why do they choose to ignore it? Extremists on both end of the debate profit from the insecurities that exist in their own populations that they try and recruit form.

So, on the one hand, we've got these relatively obscure or very obscure people, such as Pastor Jones, or this mysterious filmmaker, who nobody would have heard of if not for these protests. And the film itself is an amateur attempt and, in fact, would have been ignored.

When I -- I remember watching the film a few days before all of this happened, and it only had -- on YouTube, it had less than 100 views. And now, I think it's gone over a million. So, I think that's on the one end, they exploit this.

And on the other hand, we've got extremists in Muslim majority nations who are seeking to exploit this anger so they can recruit and feed off the anger so that they can feed their own agenda.

VERJEE: We're keeping an eye on the situation in Cairo, where protests are underway today, and there's a real sense of fear as to Friday prayers and that this could escalate both in Cairo and right through the Arab and the Muslim world.

I want to get your reaction to something we saw on Twitter, which may capture the situation. It says, "It's hard to make an American understand just how revered Prophet Mohammed is. Also, hard to make Muslims understand how sacred the first amendment is." Your thoughts?

NAWAZ: Well, I think -- I think the freedom of speech point is valid. I think people -- we must never condone reactions of violence to people that express themselves, but we can condemn their own crude attempts at depicting somebody else's faith, without banning them or without reacting with violence.

On the same hand, I think that Muslims know their own history, and they know the vast majority of Muslims in Libya, in Egypt, in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen, they know that the prophets led by example and forgave people, and this is a minority of demonstrators who are reacting in this way. So, I think we've got to put that into context.

VERJEE: How do you deal with extremists who just won't see it any other way. You were an extremist? You were in jail --


VERJEE: -- for four years.


VERJEE: How do you turn someone who believes in that kind of extremist ideology to someone as enlightened as you are?

NAWAZ: I'm, sorry to say, the exception in this instance. Most people that go through or went through Egypt's jails came out even more extreme than when they went in because they, like me, witnessed torture in those jails. And that doesn't do wonders for people's psychology.

I think the only solution to this is in the long term to put into place counter-narratives that challenge the extremist narratives, because they are clearly profiting from this obscure film, and they're making Pastor Jones and the maker of this film far more famous than they ever would have been.

And then, to do that, to put out these counter-narratives, we also need to cooperate with international -- the international community and governments across the world so that their actions don't also reinforce extremist narratives, as well.

VERJEE: Well, what should the governments and politicians be doing right now to just cool it a little bit?

NAWAZ: I think, to be fair to the American administration, they are doing the right thing. They're behaved -- they've reacted very sensibly.

VERJEE: They've condemned the video.

NAWAZ: I don't think the onus is now on the American government, I think the onus is on the Egyptian government, and what President Morsi did by encouraging demonstrations is irresponsible. They should be leading by example.

Though to give him the benefit of the doubt, what I think the Brotherhood may be trying to do is to act as a sponge and to soak up the anger through their own demonstrations, which are more likely to be peaceful, than the Salafis.

However, I must say that my opinion is that they should be at the moment leading by example and leading by actually telling the Egyptian people that the reaction of the prophet would have been the opposite of what's happening currently in Egypt.

VERJEE: We'll see what happens tomorrow, which is going to be a defining day. Thank you so much, Maajid Nawaz, the co-founder of Quilliam. Appreciate it.

Still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD, he is now a world-renowned chef with three Michelin stars to his name. But it wasn't always that way. After the break, we take a look at the sacrifice and the dedication that made Heston Blumenthal a star.


VERJEE: Time now for our Human to Hero series here on CNN. Tonight, we take a look at a man who had a rather unusual path to stardom. Heston Blumenthal taught himself all the rules, and then he broke them to create a restaurant voted best in the world.


HESTON BLUMENTHAL, CHEF: To me, it's as much about the location, company, the moment. It's the only thing we do that involves all the senses. So, it has the ability to generate so much emotion and so much memory. The possibilities, I think, are endless.

I grew up in the 70s, and I say it was not quite the best decade in British history for food. It was horrendous. I'd never eaten an oyster before, I'd never eaten lobster, I'd never been to a gastronomic restaurant in any shape or form.

Then, one year, we want to France, and I had the lucky experience of going to this three-Michelin star restaurant with my sister and my parents, and it was if I'd fallen down some rabbit hole into a wonderland.

It was just incredible. We sat outside of this broadside cliff, and this valley of olive trees as the unbelievable intoxicating smell of lavender, the noise of the feet of the waiting staff crunching on the gravel, the noise of the crickets filled the air. It was just this whole new world. And that was it. That's when I got hooked.

From then, I bought books and I started spending time with fish mongers, and there was a family friend butcher and I would spend days of time with him learning how to do some butchering knife skills. And I'd save for six months, and blow it on a two-week trip to France.

I'd go to restaurants, spending time with cheese-makers and vegetable growers. It could be somebody who produces honey. And it was this quest for questioning everything, not knowing why things didn't work, trial and error, self-taught.

And I think that made my first ten years of my life at the Duck incredibly difficult. But it allowed me to develop a style that's been really quite unique.

I suppose if you asked me about my philosophy, really it's the whole multisensory part of eating. And it's the bit after the equal signs or the pleasure you get from food or the emotional response. Some dishes could surprise, some dishes could be so comforting, some dishes could take me back to childhood, some dishes could be quite emotional.

One of the dishes that really encapsulates the whole multisensory approach is the Sound of the Sea. This is the ocean. I'm not sure which ocean it is, but it's just -- it's my imaginary ocean. It's everybody's imaginary ocean. And you pop these in. Like that. And you're back in your childhood, back at the seaside.

So, for me, this really encapsulates the whole impact of the senses and memory and how even sound can play a valuable role in perceiving and appreciating and enjoying our food.

We have three development kitchens. Some of it is really exciting, crazy, spinning around, blowing up stuff. But I would say -- we're just big kids, really -- I would say 90 percent of it is what a lot of people would think mind-numbingly boring.

So, we might take an ice cream, vanilla ice cream. We might take 20 versions and just change the amount of egg yolk in each one. So, even if you're doing the multisensory and the magical, fantastical stuff, it has to be underpinned by the precision, the consistency, and the quality.

Dry ice has an amazing ability of releasing aroma. So, what you do is under this box, you'll see, is dry ice pallets. So that goes -- it goes to the table, and then in here is hot water mixed with essential oil, oak moss, and you pour this, you just water the moss.

So you get this wonderful vapor engulfing the table. It's cold vapor, so that's why it's falling down. But if you can -- it just smells of the woodland completely.

This is probably the case of anyone that's become successful. There's ability, but there's also commitment and sacrifice. You kind of kiss good- bye to your life for a big chunk of time. You have levels of exhaustion that you just didn't know were possible. I've had about 12 hours of sleep in a week.

I don't even know what it was that was driving me. I don't know what -- I didn't really have an ambition, I just wanted to get better and better and better. It was never good enough. And all I wanted to do was cook. That's the thing.

And I said it to anybody -- anybody -- who wants to go into this industry, you have to want to cook. Eat, drink, sleep, breathe food.

I opened the Duck because I had no money to do anything and that was the biggest we could do, so it had only one door and the kitchen was tiny. Sometimes being straitjacketed makes us expand, it makes us find a route, find a way.

If I'm convinced what I was doing was bringing the noise of the crickets, the crunch of the gravel, and all of this kind of stuff, I was bringing it in in different areas. So, the use of sounds and smells and sights, trying to recreate and replicate that feeling I had when I was a 16-year-old.

That's what I want everybody that comes to the Fat Duck to have, that same feeling, feeling like a kid in a sweet shop.


VERJEE: Yummy. Chef Heston Blumenthal, this week's Human to Hero. The food, that is. For more on our new series, check us out online at

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. When we come back, a billionaire couple set out to build the biggest house in America, and then what happened? The crisis hit. We're going to speak to the filmmaker who documented their battle to save their fortune.


VERJEE: Hi. Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD. She is a former beauty queen. He is known as the Timeshare King. Together, they are David and Jacqueline Siegel, who set out to build the biggest house in America. But then, the 2008 financial crisis hit.

Their story has been captured in a new documentary called "Queen of Versailles." Filmmaker Lauren Greenfield explained to Becky Anderson why she sees the Siegels as an allegorical tale.


JACQUELINE SIEGEL, "QUEEN OF VERSAILLES": We never sought out to build the biggest house in America.


J. SIEGEL: Thirty bathrooms.

D. SIEGEL: Full-sized baseball field.

J. SIEGEL: Ten kitchens.

D. SIEGEL: Antique furniture.

J. SIEGEL: 90,000 square feet.


J. SIEGEL: No, that's not my room, that's my closet.


D. SIEGEL: You're on top of the world. And it came to a screeching halt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The market fell over 700 points.

D. SIEGEL: I would say it's touch and go right now.

LAUREN GREENFIELD, FILMMAKER, "QUEEN OF VERSAILLES": Soon into the filming, I realized that in addition to this dream of building the biggest house in America, Jackie's husband, David, he had an even bigger dream and was building a 52-story blue glass timeshare tower in Las Vegas, the most expensive timeshare ever built, over $600 million.

This building ended up being the overreach that jeopardized the company and his entire personal fortune. And when that happened, it forced both buildings, Versailles and Vegas, into default. They had to face the prospect of foreclosure.

J. SIEGEL: In my heyday of my shopping, I probably spent over a million dollars a year. I have a ton of purses. I think purses are a good investment. If you ever get into a bind, you can always sell them on eBay.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Why do you think they allowed you to continue filming, given what happened halfway through the process?

GREENFIELD: I don't think David or Jackie ever felt any shame or embarrassment about what happened. The thing that's really compelling about both of them is they are rags to riches stories. They did come from humble origins. They were very proud of what they had built.

And then when they faced the challenge, I think that they both realized on some level that their challenges also represented the challenges facing America. Jackie would often say, "We're in the same boat as everybody else, but on a bigger scale."

ANDERSON: The excesses of this family and their hardship will be very difficult for many Americans to swallow, I think. How has this documentary been received?

GREENFIELD: I think what I've been most happy about is that people have understood it as an allegory. You go in thinking these are outsized characters, these are bigger than life.

And then, lo and behold, as they start to be in real, dire jeopardy, as we realized the stakes, as we realized how the effect on the family, the effect on the relationships, the strain on the marriage. All of these things that are so familiar. It takes a surprising turn where we actually do relate or at least empathize with people who are in such an extreme situation.

J. SIEGEL: When you're down is when you find out who your true friends are.

GREENFIELD: Do you get strength from your marriage?


ANDERSON: What do you admire about David and Jackie?

GREENFIELD: With David, I admire his commitment to his work, his commitment to his employees and the way he takes responsibility. Of course he made mistakes, and those mistakes are kind of mirror the mistakes that everybody made leading up to the crisis.

I think it brings up questions about what is enough, what is too much, when are we satisfied? He says that at the end, if he had been happy with 15 resorts instead of 28, this never would have happened. We have to live within our means, we have to get back to reality.

And then with Jackie, I guess what I admire is her positivity, her kind of optimism. In a way, having a 26,000 square feet sounds grand -- when you have million housekeepers.

When you're down to one housekeeper and you have five untrained dogs who are pooping all over the house, it becomes another story. And I think she meets those challenges with a smile and starts to say, do I really need all of this?

ANDERSON: I believe that they are in the process of now getting building permits for Versailles. So, will the queen get her palace?

GREENFIELD: I'm really not sure about that. What's happened since the end of the film is that they borrowed a big sum of money from a third party, and with that, they were able to take it out of foreclosure. The house remains on the market. It's been reduced for a quick sale by $10 million. It's now available for $65 million.

And it's currently unfinished. So, I know they have said that they're applying for permits. I think we'll just have to wait and see.


VERJEE: And in tonight's Parting Shots, we're taking a trip back in time. After more than a century, the world's oldest color film is finally being seen. Phil Han gives us a look.


PHIL HAN, CNN DIGITAL PRODUCER (voice-over): What you're looking at is the world's first-ever color film. Shot back in 1902, it's being displayed for the first time in more than a century.

Less than a decade after the invention of the motion picture camera, British photographer Edward Turner invented a new way of adding color to a moving image. The method involved using red, blue, and green filters on black and white negatives to give the impression of color. In fact, the footage was all shot more than 30 years before the invention of true color film.

Turner shot a number of scenes, including London traffic, his three children, and even a pet McCaw.

The film was given to the British Science Museum in 1937, but it's only now that it's been successfully displayed.

Turner never made it work, as the images always came out blurry. Experts at the National Media Museum spent more than 200 hours digitizing the footage.

Turner died just a year after shooting these images and never got to see the results of his pioneering invention.

Phil Han, CNN, London.


VERJEE: We want to take you, now, to our top story. These are live pictures that you're looking at out of Egypt. This is Cairo. There have been protests outside the US embassy. Riot police are now in place, there. We've seen flames being fired in this picture here. We saw teargas being shot just a moment ago.

The country is bracing for a huge protest. That's expected tomorrow after Friday prayers. This is really going to be a test of the government of Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood as to whether or not they can keep control.

These protests in Cairo and other places around the world have been triggered by a film that insults Prophet Mohammed. It's spread to other countries, as I said. We have reporters in all major capitals to bring you the story live.

I'm Zain Verjee. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thanks so much for watching. The world headlines up next after this short break.