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Police Chief Missing in Mexico; Child in the Crosshairs; Russian Adoption Tensions Reignited; Banksy Work Taken For Auction

Aired February 19, 2013 - 12:30   ET


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah, Breivik had some social problems as well. He was a bit of a loner in many ways, spent a lot of time in chat rooms and that, dealing with like-minded people.

But he wasn't crazy, and he did not want to be seen as crazy. It was so important to him in court to be seen as absolutely sane and for what he did to be taken for what he said it was, and that was a purely political, anti-government, anti-immigration, a racist act.

And, so, to see any similarities between the two cases is really stretching it.


HOLMES: It was a chilling thing to cover. I was there for four or five days covering the island and went out to the island, and covering the people of Norway, this safe, beautiful place was just crushed by what happened.

This is not a place that is used to any kind of gun violence, let alone something on the scale of what happened there. I've never seen a country more shaken by something than I saw in Norway. And, you know, I've been to a lot of places that are more used to that kind of violence, but not Norway. It was a horrible, horrible experience.

MALVEAUX: And, certainly, people in Sandy Hook couldn't imagine that something like that would happen in their own community, as well.

HOLMES: Yeah, exactly.

MALVEAUX: Michael Holmes, thank you.

Right by the Texas border of Mexico, there is a war that going on. The police chief could be the latest victim. We're getting a live report after this.


HOLMES: Welcome back. To Mexico now, the police chief of Nuevo Laredo is missing. Authorities there tell CNN they have launched an investigation.

Nuevo Laredo is across the border from Laredo, Texas. Local media reporting the police chief's two brothers were discovered murdered over the weekend. MALVEAUX: And one of them was a federal prosecutor.

I want to bring in Nick Valencia to talk a bit about this. This is really kind of extraordinary when you think about it, and you take a look at the pictures, very disturbing the level of violence and danger that is associated with this.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is very dangerous there. In fact, the state prosecutors were so reluctant to confirm information to us because of the safety dangers there. I spoke to the state prosecutor's office, (INAUDIBLE), and they said that they didn't want to -- were very reluctant to confirm it, but eventually did confirm the information.

You have to give the viewers context here a little bit, Suzanne. In 2005, police chief takes a job. He's found killed the first day on the job.

Fast forward a couple of years later, a retired army chief, he takes the job. He's also killed.

And now we have reports today of this missing police chief.

HOLMES: Well, the obvious question is why and it obviously sounds like this drug cartels. Is that correct?

VALENCIA: Well, this is the headquarters of arguably the most violent drug cartel, Los Zetas. They have been at war for a number of years in this northeast part of Mexico with the rival Gulf cartel.

This is a very violent and bloody part of Mexico, bodies found hanging from the bridge recently. And, in fact, as early as 2011, the Texas Department of Safety, they issued a press release to U.S. citizens, asking them not to travel to this area because of safety concerns.

MALVEAUX: Is there anybody safe in that area?

VALENCIA: Well, I mean, the local residents would like to think that they are. But, you know, we were talking about this before the show started, Michael. People still take these jobs, police chief.

HOLMES: Yeah. Why? Why would you do it?

VALENCIA: It's a sense of civic pride. The cartels are taking over parts of areas, and parts of Mexico are drug infested with these cartels. But it is a sense of pride and civic pride for these local police chiefs to take the jobs, saying to these cartels, you may run certain parts of Mexico, but you're not going to run my part of town.

MALVEAUX: Is anybody like any closer to finding out who these guys, capturing or bringing them to justice, or is this kind of just a lost cause?

VALENCIA: Mexico, and I'm sure our viewers know this, we don't have to tell them. They've got a prosecution problem. Ninety percent of crimes don't get solved in Mexico. Recently, we had the case in Acapulco where six tourists, six Spanish tourists, were raped by local people there. And sometimes there's a reluctance to celebrate some of the captures by authorities. Oftentimes, they're marched in front of Mexican media and later you hear in interrogations by those suspects that they were beaten into being convinced that they actually committed the crime.

So, this is no closer to finding out who did this yet, and even a reluctance on the part of the local authorities to even confirm that this happened.

MALVEAUX: Wow. All right, Nick, thank you. Appreciate it.

A little kid in the crosshairs. This is a photo that was posted on an Israeli soldier's Instagram account. It is sparking outrage in the Holy Land. We're going to take you live to Jerusalem after this.


MALVEAUX: Welcome back to NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL, where we take you around the world in 60 minutes.

HOLMES: Yeah, and we're going to take you to Israel right now because there's a photograph posted on an Israeli soldier's Instagram account that is sparking outrage.

MALVEAUX: Take a look at this. It appears to show what might be a Palestinian child's head positioned in the center of a sniper's crosshairs.

Sara Sidner, she's in Jerusalem. Sara, tell us what this soldier -- what was he trying to do?


Look, the Instagram picture depicting what appears to be a child or a very young adult, at the least, through the crosshairs of a sniper's rifle was actually uploaded by an Israeli soldier named Mor Ostrovski.

Now, we've not been able to talk to Ostrovski, but we did get a comment from Israeli military officials. The Israeli military says that the picture in question does not -- it absolutely does not coincide with its values or code of ethics, and that the issue is actually being investigated right now and will be dealt with accordingly.

Now, as you might imagine, this has really ruffled a lot of people's feathers because it really sheds a light on certain things. It makes people very uncomfortable, a story that turns out to be bigger internationally than it has been locally so far.

There's not been a huge amount of coverage here on the story, comparatively, but there has been a reaction. People on social Web sites and in the streets calling it shameful and really insensitive and disturbing. And it's been condemned in many circles, both socially and officially, Suzanne. MALVEAUX: And, Sara, I guess the obvious question is, this is a Palestinian child? Is the whole idea that this is somebody who is going directly for a little Palestinian boy?

SIDNER: Well, the idea is, according to the military, one that they do not want to talk about because it's just not what a soldier is supposed to do.But, yes, the idea is that this is looking -- a gun is pointing towards the head of a Palestinian, whether it was a child or a very young adult.

And I will tell you that I spoke with Mohammed Shtayyeh, an executive member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and he said -- and I'm quoting here -- "It's a real pity that Palestinians mean so little to Israeli soldiers that they think Palestinian lives are just for their amusement." He told me that he thinks that this is more proof that Palestinians need international protection and international law should be applied in these cases, Suzanne.

But the Israeli military saying this is not their policy. This is one person that did something that was incorrect. Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: All right. And, obviously, in this day of Instagram, we all get to see it.

HOLMES: Yeah, yeah.

MALVEAUX: Know what I mean? It's just one of those things that sometimes you think people have done in the past ...

SIDNER: Social media.

HOLMES: Yeah, exactly. Do us a favor. Let us know the outcome of that investigation. I'll be curious to see what happens.


HOLMES: All right, Sara Sidner there.

Now, the problems for Israel's government, well, they don't stop there. The prime minister in hot water for budgeting -- listen to this -- $2,700 for ice cream, all of this coming at a time when Israel, like a lot of other countries, struggling with budget cuts.

MALVEAUX: All right. So, how much ice cream are we talking about, right?

HOLMES: Really, 2,700 bucks?

MALVEAUX: That's like a lot of ice cream.

Yeah, I guess they were saying that this is something that -- his favorite flavor, pistachio or ...

HOLMES: Well, I thought it was French vanilla.

He actually signed an agreement. This is Benjamin Netanyahu there on your screen, obviously. Signed an agreement with a shop to supply not the office, his house, with almost 30 pounds of ice cream a month.

MALVEAUX: And, so, the government is releasing a statement, and they're saying that, once the prime minister actually learned about this agreement, he decided to cancel it.

HOLMES: No kidding.

MALVEAUX: So, the ice cream is not coming.

HOLMES: No kidding. Oops.

MALVEAUX: But there was -- I think they posted something on Facebook, too, where they had kind of like a little bit of a spoof where he had a big, huge ice cream cone in his hand. It was like a huge thing of ice cream.

HOLMES: $2,700 a month?

MALVEAUX: That's a lot. I'm surprised he's not really big from all that ice cream.

HOLMES: Kids and friends and all of that coming around every month. $2,700?

MALVEAUX: Are you a big ice cream guy.

HOLMES: Yeah. Yeah, I can be. Yeah.

We're going to take a break. We'll be right back.

MALVEAUX: Vanilla.



HOLMES: As if they needed it, tensions between the U.S. and Russia reigniting over Americans adopting Russian children. This time stemming from a case in west Texas. We're talking about a three-year- old child adopted from Russia who died in the care of his adoptive American parents.

MALVEAUX: The Russian government says the boy was clearly abused. David Mattingly joins us with the story.

This is a case where, obviously, there's a long history of problems and tensions between the United States and Russia.


MALVEAUX: As you had mentioned, it's the third largest, right --


MALVEAUX: In terms of number of adoptions here. And now you've got this. I mean, can only make this worse. MATTINGLY: It already has made it worse. They have a ban that has been passed and ready to go into effect. And already that was just for nationwide banning U.S. adoptions in Russia. But already the region where this little boy and his brother are from, the governor there in Russia has said, all right, we're going to stop adoptions right now because of this case. And they're asking that the young boy's brother, his younger brother who's also in the home, also be sent back to Russia.

MALVEAUX: What happened? What happened to this little boy, do we know?

MATTINGLY: That's the thing, we just don't know. And the State Department is cautioning everyone to wait for this investigation to go through so we can get to the bottom of this, wait for those autopsy results to come out. And that -- those could be weeks, possibly even a month away before we find out what we do know, that this three-year- old boy, he had turned three early in January. And on January 21st, he was nonresponsive in the home. His mother called 911. Taken to the hospital and he was dead. And because of the situation, in Texas they're required to investigate infant deaths like this, toddler deaths like this. And they're still having to get to the bottom of it. The coroner is looking at it. They're doing an investigation. They just don't know.

HOLMES: OK. And just -- you said to me before on CNN International, there's been 19 other deaths of Russian kids. Is that right?

MATTINGLY: Since the '90s. Since the '90s.

HOLMES: Since the '90s.

MATTINGLY: And if that weren't bad enough to inflame the tensions that already exist there, the sensitivities about so many adoptions from the U.S. happening in Russia.


MATTINGLY: Then, in 2010, we had an American mother just shipping her son that she adopted in the U.S. back because he had behavioral problems.


MALVEAUX: Yes, that's how that all started.

And I want to show our viewers here, the State Department estimating that Americans adopted close to 1,000 Russian children last year. So hundreds of adoptions that are pending. And the ban -- the Russian ban on U.S. adoptions have left a lot of Americans really, quite frankly, in limbo. And a couple weeks ago, talked to one couple who was actually in that exact situation. Here's what they describe.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOSH JOHNSTON, TRYING TO ADOPT RUSSIAN CHILD: We're probably smack dab in the middle of the process right now. We made a trip last month to visit little Anastasia. We met her. She was informed that we were her parents. We told her we were going to come back for her and she said she'd wait for us. And now we're in limbo.

JENNI JOHNSTON, TRYING TO ADOPT RUSSIAN CHILD: We pray, we cry, we get cranky. I mean my child's a half a world away and I feel like any mom wouldn't be able to get through that very easily.


MALVEAUX: David, how are they getting through that? Because you've got a lot of folks who are in limbo and then others who just are not able to adopt now?

MATTINGLY: Right. These are all parents who were already in the slow- moving process. Private or otherwise. And they were trying to make their way through these systems. There's all sorts of pitfalls that they could run into. A lot of frustrations. And then you have this ban imposed on top of it. It's interrupting and casting into doubt where they stand with their individual agencies. And so it's great -- it's really a source of fear and frustration.

HOLMES: And then you've got the whole geopolitics as well, which we won't get into here, that's going on anyway. Russia and America butting heads, as it is, politically, which doesn't help any of this. Yes.

All right, David, thanks so much.

MALVEAUX: Thank you.

HOLMES: David Mattingly following this for us.

MALVEAUX: Well, he's the most famous graffiti artist in the world and now his work by Banksy is now missing, gone missing in Europe. It showed up in Florida. We're tracking it down after a quit break.

HOLMES: Banksy's great. Do you like, Banksy?



MALVEAUX: All right, street art. A lot of us know it. It is called Banksy. Probably the best known, renowned street artist in the world.

HOLMES: Yes. Some say graffiti. I don't.

MALVEAUX: And -- graffiti, street artist, it's --

HOLMES: I think it's art. Yes.

MALVEAUX: Yes, but it's incredible when you take a look at the work there. And now you have a situation here where it's a -- you know, it's a mysterious British guy whose work gets snatched up by art collectors around the world. You can see his work in the screen, of course, behind us. One of the pieces has made its way to Miami. People, of course, stirred up in two continents. Here's why.


DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When is graffiti art? Well, if you live in London, you've probably heard of the graffiti artist Banksy, whose witty murals sell for enormous sums of money. And there used to be one right here until someone took not only the graffiti but also a huge chunk of wall. Now, it is still visible on Google's street view, complete with a couple of tourists having their photo taken beside it. But if you want to see it in real life you're going to have to spend an awful lot of money. John Zarrella in Miami takes up the story.


Here's the connection to Miami. It's called Fine Art Auctions Miami. On their website, the Banksy mural turned up for an auction of street art on February 23rd. Now, I had the chance to talk exclusively with the man who runs the auction house and he told me about how they got the rights to auction the Banksy.

FREDERIC THUT, FINE ART AUCTIONS MIAMI: We decided to present a street art auction in Miami because we think this is the right place to protect and to promote the street artwork. There's a lot of artists here round about this kind of art. And so we thought that it was the right place to make a street art auction. So we contacted all our contacts able to have collectors (ph), able to have some works of that kind. And we've been offered then some work of art. This work of art comes that way.

ZARRELLA: Understandably, lots of people in the London neighborhood are upset that the Banksy disappeared. But according to Frederic Thut, just because this piece of art was on a wall doesn't necessarily mean it belongs to the public.

THUT: And so people think because it's on the wall in the street, you know, their -- the work owned to the public. But, you know, like the (INAUDIBLE) time, you know, like the (INAUDIBLE) in Turkey, you know, not everything owns to the public. You know, some things owned through the private. And for our reserts (ph), you know, the wall, it's private wall, you know, so --

ZARRELLA: Owned by the building.

THUT: Owned by --

ZARRELLA: Whoever owns the building.

THUT: The owner -- the owner of the building. So I think that the right thing is to ask the owner of the building.

ZARRELLA: According to Frederic Thut, they are talking with their attorneys about whether to keep the Banksy in the February 23rd auction. At this point, they don't have any plans to remove it. In fact, it is such a big deal item that the Banksy is actually on the cover of the auction magazine.

John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.


MALVEAUX: They took it off the wall?

HOLMES: I know. Who owns it?

MALVEAUX: (INAUDIBLE) lift it off the wall.

HOLMES: I would think the building owner would own it once it's on his wall, but --

MALVEAUX: Yes. He wanted it.

HOLMES: Love Banksy. He's great.


HOLMES: All right, now, when we come back, he is the son of the king of pop. We'll tell you about Prince Jackson's new job, when we come back.


MALVEAUX: All right, you might be seeing a lot more of Michael Jackson's oldest son Prince. That is because he's taken a job as a reporter at "Entertainment Tonight." "ET." There he is.

HOLMES: Yes, Prince Michael Jackson already taping his first interview about a remake of "The Wizard of Oz." And even though the 16-year-old is set to inherit millions from dad's estate, his lawyers say he is determined to make his own money. Yes, because he got the job through, what, applying and going through an interview and --

MALVEAUX: Well, he's Michael Jackson's son.

HOLMES: Please.

MALVEAUX: Yes, that's right. So much for the journalism degree.

HOLMES: Nothing like a leg up.

MALVEAUX: I know. It will be interesting to see him.


MALVEAUX: So, you know, it's a fun job. It's good for him.

HOLMES: Yes, why not.

MALVEAUX: If he wants to be a part of all the action.

HOLMES: It's not what you know, it's who you know.

All right, that will do it for me. Thanks for watching NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL.

You are far from done. I'm leaving. You're not.

MALVEAUX: Oh, I've got one more hour.

HOLMES: You keep working, all right?

MALVEAUX: All right. I'll see you tomorrow, of course.