CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

CONNECT THE WORLD

Syrian Government Claims al-Nusra Front Responsible for Chemical Attack; Interview with "Manhunt" Documentary Filmmakers Greg Barker, Marty Martin; Saudi Diplomat In U.S. Accused of Human Trafficking

Aired May 2, 2013 - 16:00   ET

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


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Tonight, the blame game over alleged chemical weapon use in Syria.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OMRAN AL ZOUBI, SYRIAN INFORMATION MINISTER (through translator): The government would never use chemical weapons if we had them. We have proof that Islamist Jabhat al-Nusra have used chemical weapons.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: The Syrian information minister tells CNN terrorists from Turkey are to blame. Tonight, I get you the Turkish response.

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

ANDERSON: Also ahead this hour, as the maker of a fake bomb detector heads to prison, I speak to a former bomb disposal expert on how the world was duped.

And is cannibalism humanities most sacred taboo? A meaty story for you of man's penchant for flesh. That is coming up.

Very good evening to you. First up tonight, new reports of yet another massacre in Syria. Opposition groups say troops stormed the village of al-Bayda today killing dozens of people, including women and children. Activists say the troops burned homes and carried out, quote, field executions with knives.

Syria state media says government forces killed a number of terrorists and seized a cache of weapons.

(inaudible) closing in on rebels in a key district of Homs. This amateur video is said to show rockets being fired in neighborhoods. Activists say government forces are now circling an opposition district. They fear hundreds of residents could become victims of reprisal attacks.

Well, the Syrian government is answering recent accusations about chemical weapons use with an accusation of its own. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen had an exclusive interview with the Syrian information minister. He's just back from that. And joins us now from Damascus.

What did we learn?

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, one of the big things that information minister told us is that he says obviously his government is not using chemical weapons on the battlefield. He blamed Islamist extremist groups for using chemical weapons on the battlefield specifically in the town of Aleppo. And he says those weapons came from Turkey. Let's listen in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PLEITGEN: The United States says that it has evidence that chemical weapons were used in the conflict here. Did your armed forces use them?

OMRAN AL ZOUBI, SYRIAN INFORMATION MINISTER (through translator): The government would never use chemical weapons if we had them. We have proof that Islamist Jubhat al-Nusra have used chemical weapons. America is not serious about discussing this type of chemical weapons used. They want to accuse Syria and not search for the truth. It is shameful.

PLEITGEN: Do you fear that this could draw the United States into increased action?

ZOUBI (through translator): The most important question is why western countries have given such weapons to al Qaeda and Jubhat al-Nusra. Do they want to increase terrorism or do they want to find a pretext to invade Syria? They are trying to make them stronger, it means that the western countries are on the same sides as these terrorists.

PLEITGEN: How do you view President Obama's position, then, because President Obama is taking a lot of heat in the United States for not taking more action on Syria. How do you view his approach?

ZOUBI (through translator): If President Obama says chemical weapons are a red line, then he is in direct accordance with President Assad who also thinks that chemical weapons are a red line.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: That is the information minister. Fred said when he asked which chemical weapons were used, the information minister said ask Mr. Erdogan, the prime minister, of course, of Turkey.

Well, the information minister also said Syrian rebels are getting chemical weapons from an ally of the west. He told CNN, and I quote, "we are very sure that these weapons have come to Syria from Turkey. This is not a political accusation, this is based on facts," he said. And Jabhat al-Nusra has said this is true. There are videos that make this clear, he said.

Well, a very serious accusation. So we wanted to give Turkey a chance to respond. We're joined now on the line by Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Levent Gumrukcu. We thank you for joining us tonight.

These weapons have come to Syria from Turkey. Jabhat al-Nusra has said that this is true. Your response.

LEVENT GUMRUKCU, TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTRY: Thank you for having me in the first place.

Of course these are totally baseless accusations, which we firmly deny. In fact, coming from a member of the regime, which is obstructing the investigations of any of the claims about these chemical weapons in Syria in fact these accusations should not even be taken seriously.

Turkey doesn't possess any chemical weapons and has always been against both the use and possession of these agents. In fact from the first moment we have started hearing about reports of chemical use in Syria, we immediately asked a full and quick investigation of those allegations in order to establish the facts. And we have done so in the United Nations, in the organization for (inaudible) chemical weapons.

ANDERSON: Let me put this question to you, then, sir. What sort of weapons are crossing the border from Turkey into Syria?

GUMRUKCU: We're not providing any weapons to Syria.

ANDERSON: No. But we know that weapons are cross -- I think it's clear weapons are crossing that border whether you are supplying them or not. I'm asking you what sort of weapons are getting across the border.

GUMRUKCU: As we are not supplying those weapons, we do not have any information whatsoever as to what sort of weapons are...

ANDERSON: OK. Who is supplying weapons into Syria at the moment, just out of interest?

GUMRUKCU: I cannot talk about those things -- of course, as Turkey I am telling you that I am not providing any weapons. We are of course in constant touch with the opposition, the National Coalition. And we are opening our border for those Syrians fleeing from the regime violence.

I mean, at this moment we have 192,000 people in the camps in Turkey. And the same number in (inaudible) in Turkey.

So we're not really supporting any sort of militarization of the conflict in the...

ANDERSON: Let's just remind our viewers...

GUMRUKCU: The regime, unfortunately, is getting those weapons from some other sources and this is of course the (inaudible) offensive that we see in certain parts of the country. But it's (inaudible) that kind of a militarization of course.

ANDERSON: All right. And apologies for interrupting you.

Let's just remind our viewers that there is a serious humanitarian crisis all around Syria's borders. At present in Turkey, of course, looking after and providing for tens of thousands of people in refugee camps, and that is understood.

A question to you, sir, tonight. What is your position so far as Obama's red line narrative goes tonight? The defense minister has spoken on camera tonight. He said they are reassessing that red line. When asked a question whether they were reassessing the red line and whether to provide military boots on the ground as it were in Syria he said yes they are.

What's your position on that?

GUMRUKCU: Of course, I mean, any use of chemical weapons is a red line, should be a red line for any country. So we are on the same line with the United States when we come to about that.

But of course I mean, we should first and foremost be 100 percent confident about the use of chemical weapons. There are now serious allegations, now there are some serious indications that this is the case. But I mean, before being 100 percent sure about that, I don't think we should jump into conclusions as to what needs to be done.

But because, of course, fact is -- I mean, it should be a game- changer. It should be a red line. And I think the U.S. is in the right position on this one.

But first and foremost, we need to work with the UN in a fact finding mission and we need to establish the facts on the ground. And unfortunately, the Syrian regime so far has obstructed the fact finding mission of the United Nations to go in the country and substantiate those claims.

And unfortunately of course such an approach (inaudible) responsibility on the part of the regime. We are following with (inaudible) of course.

ANDERSON: And with that we're going to leave it there. Sir, we appreciate your time. Late Turkish time on this Thursday evening. We thank you for that. The spokesman for the Turkish foreign ministry.

Let's get some perspective on all of this shall we now from Rami Khouri. He's editor at-large of the daily star in Lebanon and director of the Assam Fawas Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut who has said a number of times and has written about this, this is a multi-layered problem that we see here in Syria and the neighboring region at present.

I just want you, Rami, firstly to address what we have been discussing tonight, the Syrian information minister accusing terrorists who have come across the border from Turkey, and it is they who are using chemical weapons in Syria.

RAMI KHOURI, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, THE DAILY STAR: Well, I think that kind of accusation is to be expected.

The truth is we don't know exactly who used these chemical weapons, to be fair to everybody. It seems to be that there were used, but who actually used them, we don't know.

ANDERSON: And that is the point, isn't it?

I'm sorry, Rami, because I want to put you up on that. That is the point that Obama has made at this point. The red line slightly changed. He said in the past if chemical weapons were used. Now he's saying we have evidence that we have been used, but it's by whom that we are concerned about. That is very important, isn't it, at this stage.

To your mind, is it possible that Jabhat al-Nusra, an al Qaeda affiliated group, could be using chemical weapons in Syria? Is that feasible?

KHOURI: I think everything is possible, but there's just really no way to tell. Most people assume that the government of Syria has used the chemical weapons, but to be fair to everybody there needs to be some kind of investigation. And if the Syrian government is innocent, it should let the United Nation's inspectors come in and figure this out.

But it is the Syrian government's policy and has been all along to make the case to the world and to the Syrian people that it's either the Assad regime and instability, or the chaos of al Qaeda and other groups that it calls terrorist groups has tried to make this dichotomy as the two extremes with nothing in between. The reality is much different, that there is a large number of Syrians who have peacefully risen up to try to change their government.

But this has gone on for over two years and now you have a contingent of Islamist fighters, you have all kinds of resistance groups that are independent -- some are tribal, some are local, some are Islamists, some are coming from abroad, some are assisted by Arab countries in Turkey and the west. So it's a very, very complicated (inaudible).

ANDERSON: Let me stop you there. Just briefly, I want to get our viewers -- we just got it into CNN the sound from the Defense Secretary Hagel just earlier on when asked about this whole red line narrative. Have a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Rethinking -- the administration is rethinking its opposition to arming the rebels.

CHUCK HAGEL, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: Yes.

STARR: May I ask why? What has changed in your mind? And does this put you respectfully at odds with the U.S. military General Dempsey who said it's not a good idea in his view. Why are you rethinking army the rebels?

HAGEL: You look at and rethink all options. It doesn't mean you do or you will. These are options that must be considered with partners, with the international community what is possible, what can help accomplish these objectives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Rami, arming the rebels by the U.S. military, a good idea or not?

KHOURI: If the United States is serious about wanting to bring down the Assad regime, then of course it's a good idea. The United States has provided all kinds of other assistance -- training, technical assistance, money, diplomatic support, logistical support, humanitarian support to the rebels. But the United States has been so confused about not just what to do with the rebels in Syria, but the whole Arab uprising movement all across the Arab world. It's prevaricated. It's been wishy washy. And we're seeing just a continuation of this.

But of course they should provide weapons, especially anti-aircraft defensive weapons if they want the Assad regime to fall.

But you have the problem now of all these Islamist groups like Jabhat al-Nusra and others -- by the way, if anybody is worried about these Islamist groups in Syria, they should call up Condoleezza Rice, George Bush and Tony Blair and thank them for allowing these groups to germinate and to grow and the train and to mobilize and to get experience in Iraq after 2003 and spread all over the Middle East, because that's the genesis of a lot of these groups now going into Syria.

So, it's very complicated. But it's really -- Syria is the biggest proxy war of the last century and the whole world.

ANDERSON: And with that, we're going to talk again, because I've got to take an advertising break. Fascinating analysis. We'll have you back on. For the time being, we thank you very much indeed for joining us.

Rami Khouri out of Lebanon for you this evening. Connecting the world for you as ever this time here on CNN. I'm Becky Anderson out of London.

It's is 15 minutes past 9:00. Our top story tonight, Syria counters claims that it is responsible for chemical weapons use saying it's terrorists with munitions from Turkey who are to blame. And they say that crosses Assad's red line.

Well, on this show, a Turkish official says the allegations are totally baseless.

Still to come tonight, we cross live to Mexico where Barack Obama has just arrived for high level talks on three key cross-border issues.

Plus, CNN's Freedom Project looks at human trafficking claims at a Saudi diplomat's house in Washington.

And later (inaudible) jubilation in Munich as an all German Champion's League final is set. That and much more as this show continues. Do stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson for you. Welcome back.

Now authorities say a man shot and killed himself a short time ago in an airport in the U.S. city of Houston, Texas. A law enforcement source tells CNN that the man tried to get through a security with a gun at Bush International Airport. A CNN affiliate in Houston says a man walked into the terminal with a military style semiautomatic rifle. Now word yet on his identity.

Well, Barack Obama has arrived in Mexico in the past hour to meet with the president there. The American president on a three day tour which will include Costa Rica.

Let's bring in Brianna Keilar who is traveling with the U.S. president.

A trip to reinforce the relationship between the two countries is how the purpose of this trip was described, Brianna, which let's be frank is pretty clear. Is it any clearer now that Obama is on the ground as to why he's there?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I know that does sound pretty vague, Becky. Overall, I would say this is a chance for President Obama to become more familiar with the new Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto. He came into power here in Mexico in December. The two presidents have met before, but President Pena Nieto's PRI party had been out of power for the last 12 years. So this is a chance for President Obama to become more familiar, but we're expecting one of the big reasons for this trip is going to be stressing economic ties between the U.S. and Mexico.

The U.S. is still the biggest -- the biggest consumer of Mexican goods, although Mexico has been increasingly looking to Asia as have a number of the countries here in this region. And so we expect President Obama to reinforce that economic message.

We do, of course, expect President Obama to talk about immigration reform as the debate heats up in the U.S. as he tries to pressure Congress to do something, as he tries to engage his Latino supporters who have been so interested in this issue. But we're expecting him to do it in economic terms, to make that argument as sort of his overarching economy theme.

And so often when you talk about U.S.-Mexico relations, the major topic is this bloody war on drugs, narco trafficking and the security cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico.

We expect that is going to be a topic, but we do expect that the presidents, Becky, are going to try and not make it the only topic as again they try to stress trade and this economic message.

ANDERSON: Thank you for that. Brianna Keilar traveling with the U.S. president there in Mexico at present.

The European Central Bank has cut its main interest rate for the first time in 10 months, trimming it by a quarter of one percentage point, now at an historic low of 0.5 percent. It was expected the EuroZone remains of course stuck in recession. The ECB president says Thursday's decision follows even further weakness in the EuroZone economy while inflation remains low.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIO DRAGHI, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK: There is surrounding the economic outlook for the euro area continue to be on the downside. They include the possibility of even weaker than expected domestic and global demand and slow or insufficient implementation of structural reforms in the euro area. These factors have the potential to dampen confidence and thereby delay the recovery.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, the European stock markets ended mostly higher after that decision. It was a fairly muted finish, though, it's got to be said. Investors had a rate cut priced in for some weeks now.

Want to talk about muted, ooh, Paris really muted, hardly moved.

Well, the U.S. is urging North Korea to grant amnesty to an American citizen sentenced to 15 years hard labor. According to the state news agency, Kenneth Bay was sentenced earlier today for what the court described as, quote, hostile acts. The U.S. State Department has called for his immediate release.

CNN's Freedom Project is committed to ending human trafficking and modern-day slavery. If you are a regular viewer, you will be well aware of that. And the U.S., a Saudi diplomats home just outside Washington is now at the center of an investigation into trafficking claims.

World affairs reporter Elise Labott joins us now from our Washington bureau.

What do we know of the details of this story?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN CORREPSONDENT: Well, Becky, on Wednesday night last night the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, of the homeland security and also diplomatic security guards were called to the home of this Saudi military attache where they say they rescued two Filipino women suspected of possible being victims of human trafficking.

Now State Department officials tell us the women have told authorities that the Saudi family that they worked in their house, took their passports, did not let them leave the building. They gave them unreasonable work hours, extremely long work hours, and did not pay them. Becky, there's an investigation going on. There are no charges of physical or sexual abuse, but we understand the women were not allowed to lock their bedroom doors and the family kind of came in at all hours of the night. So a lot of investigation.

But clearly the authorities, the Department of Justice, the State Department and Customs Enforcement are investigating.

ANDERSON: Elise Labott in Washington. Always a pleasure, Elise. Thank you.

Live from London, this is Connect the World. Still to come, the hunt for the world's most wanted man. Documented in a new film, the directors of Manhunt coming up after this short break.

And later in the show, some America's early settlers confirmed as cannibals. We'll discuss why people have resorted to this global taboo.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Two years ago, this image was taken. President Obama and senior officials watch as elite U.S. soldiers raid the compound of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. Two years ago to this day. Within moments, the al Qaeda chief is dead. We are marking that anniversary -- it is a definitive moment, of course, of 2011. The culmination of a hunt for the world's most wanted man.

It's a search that's now been documented in a new film Manhunt. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. And that's when I caught up with the director Greg Barker and former CIA agent Mary Martin.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GREG BARKER, DIRECTOR: I think making this film for me provided a lot of answers about the -- how the hunt for bin Laden wasn't just the raid on Abbottabad, or even the efforts after 9/11. The CIA was tracking bin Laden in some form from the early 90s onward. And what our film does is tells the story of a core group of people, a lot whom were women, who began tracking al Qaeda and bin Laden in the early 90s. And it's the continuity of that group all the way through 9/11, up through Abbottabad.

UNIDENTIIFED FEMALE: There were just warning after warning. We knew something huge was going to happen.

ANDERSON: The film looks at who was accountable for failing to prevent the 9/11 attacks. How would you describe the blame game that your film documents?

BARKER: I think if you really look at the whole blame of what happened, it was an institutional blame across Washington. I mean, the military wasn't prepared to go after bin Laden in any meaningful way. The president wasn't prepared. The whole national security apparatus wasn't prepared for this. And it took the shock of 9/11 to shift that point of view.

So -- but what we try to do in the film is to say, look, the individuals who were warning against -- about an impending attack were the ones who were then blamed for it. And sure maybe there may have been some mistakes made along the way, but the fact is they saw this threat coming and were warning national leaders. And it's really the responsibility of the national leaders to listen to those warnings.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were trying to keep track of all the threads of various threats. And the language being used by these guys was like, oh my god, what are they going to do?

ANDERSON: What do you think will shock people, Marty, about this documentary?

MARTY MARTIN, CIA AGENT: I don't think they'll be shocked. I think they'll be intrigued and interested and hopefully educated that, you know, there -- you know, secret things are not necessarily a bad thing.

ANDERSON: You defend the use of coercive interrogation techniques like waterboarding, for example, that were being used during this time. I think people might be shocked by that. Can you explain your defense?

MARTIN: My defense is probably just based, honestly, more on the results of the innocent lives that I know are walking around today alive, women and children, innocent folks that are enjoying their daily lives, because I know those techniques obviously are controversial, but they were effective. That whole program at large was effective.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is on our shoulders.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You definitely need to know your moral center.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My job is to kill al Qaeda. Either get with us or get out of our way.

ANDERSON: Having completed this -- this film, Greg, how would you describe what you've learned about the threat from al Qaeda today?

BARKER: Well, I think it's evolving. I think it's -- I mean, clearly al Qaeda today is a much different organization than it was after 9/11. I mean, it's been -- it's been in many ways dismantled. And we tell that story in the film.

The ideology is clearly still very potent in parts of the world. I think we see it shifting. And so I think, you know, it's a threat not just al Qaeda, but Islamic fundamentalism and jihadism will be a threat to us for some time.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: And that interview was conducted before, let me tell you, the Boston bombings which was the reason, of course, that we weren't discussing that at the (inaudible). Fascinating stuff from those two.

All right, the latest world news headlines are just ahead.

Plus, throwing the book who sold fake bomb detectors used in war zones. The judge says he has blood on his hands. So why are his devices still used in Iraq?

Also still to come, the early settlers who survived on human flesh. We're going to speak to an expert who says they are not alone in this desperate act.

And later this hour, it was a baptism of fire for this Chinese prodigy as he became the youngest golfer ever to play at a European tour. More on that at the back of the hour.

Your headlines coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Welcome back, 32 minutes past 9:00 in London, I'm Becky Anderson, this is CONNECT THE WORLD on CNN. Your headlines this hour.

Syrian opposition activists are reporting a new massacre. They say troops stormed the village of al Bayda today, killing dozens of people, including women and children. Syrian state media says government forces went after radical groups and killed a number of what they call terrorists.

Washington is calling on North Korea to grant amnesty to an American citizen who is imprisoned there. North Korea's supreme court has sentenced Kenneth Bae to 15 years of hard labor. North Korean state media reports he committed unspecified, quote, "hostile acts against the state."

The Venezuelan opposition has filed a lawsuit contesting the results of the April 14th elections won by President Nicolas Maduro. The opposition, led by Henrique Capriles, is calling for the entire election process to be nullified and for a new presidential election to take place.

A search is underway in Sudan's Darfur region after a collapse at a gold mine there, 52 people confirmed dead, many others are missing. Independent mines have boomed in Sudan in recent years, and hundreds have died fighting over mining rights in Darfur.

Ten years in prison for fraud. That is a maximum sentence, and James McCormick will serve it after being convicted of selling fake bomb detectors to security services around the world. Yes, you heard me correctly.

Today, a British judge threw the book at him. McCormick made millions of dollars selling his devices, reportedly nothing more than golf ball finders, to private companies and government agencies.

How was this man able to fool so many people, we ask ourselves. My colleague Atika Shubert went in search of some answers, and here's what she found out.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The ADE 651 stood for Advanced Detection Equipment, and it certainly looked the part: sleek black casing, a swiveling antenna, said to detect everything from bombs to $100 bills, and a card that indicated what the device had found.

This is the man behind the device, James McCormick, in this video, leading a training session on the ADE 651 to police in Niger by a live minefield.

But they don't work. British police say the ADE 651 is really the Gopher, a novelty golf ball finder with the label removed. This device, independent tests show, has no better than a random chance at finding a golf ball, much less a bomb.

EDWARD HEATH, DETECTIVE INSPECTOR: And these devices contain absolutely nothing inside. There's no -- no laws of science, physics, that these devices could work. He is a con man. He uses sleight of hand and -- absurd sales tactics to actually con government officials, private individuals, out of money to buy these devices.

SHUBERT: McCormick spent less than 18 months as an entry-level policeman in the Liverpool area before becoming a salesman of radio equipment, but in this training video to potential salesmen in India, he said he had, quote, "worked with explosives" for British police.

It was the Made in the UK label that tipped British police off. They found that McCormick had the components made separately, then assembled them here at a cost of less than $60 each. He sold the devices to government agencies and private companies around the world, in at least one case, for as much as $300,000 a piece.

Iraq's law enforcement agencies bought 6,000 of the devices to scan for explosives at checkpoints.

SHUBERT (on camera): So, just how much money did James McCormick make off this scam? An estimated $60 million to $80 million, and he spent $8 million of it on this historic home in Bath, England, formerly owned by Hollywood star Nicholas Cage, complete with a pool in the basement.

SHUBERT (voice-over): He also bought a million-dollar yacht and holiday homes in Cyprus and Florida, assets the police are now trying to seize.

HEATH: What we intend to do is ensure that his assets are confiscated and that we get the money back from them so he can't live a life of luxury from this crime.

SHUBERT: McCormick insists the devices do work, but he has been convicted of fraud. Yet the ADE 651 is still in use in Iraq and other countries, potentially putting lives at risk.

Atika Shubert, CNN, Somerset, England.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, the judge at the sentencing today said that soldiers, police officers, and border security have all trusted these bogus devices with their lives, and in addition to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Niger, the fake bomb detectors were also sold to countries across the world, including Saudi Arabia, Georgia, Romania, and Thailand.

The real shock is that the fake detectors are still being used in Iraq. This is footage that CNN recently shot in Baghdad, and we've even seen them being used today.

Let's bring in bomb disposal specialist Chris Hunter, who joins us via Skype from Hereford, England, which is near Birmingham. Does this story shock you as much as it shocks me, and I'm sure millions of our viewers around the world?

CHRIS HUNTER, BOMB DISPOSAL SPECIALIST: Yes. I find it completely bewildering how --

ANDERSON: Right.

HUNTER: -- some -- effectively, it's just a plastic handle with a couple of antennas and no electronic components, nothing that can detect explosives.

ANDERSON: So if --

HUNTER: That's the --

ANDERSON: Sorry, yes. No, I get it. How come it was being sold and used if it didn't work? If you'd been using this device, surely you'd work out whether it was working or not. Or is that the -- no bombs went off and therefore people just assumed it was working? I don't know. Explain it to me.

HUNTER: I think it does -- it's bewildering. But I think, effectively, if you look at somewhere like Iraq where, at the height of the insurgency, there were 2,000 IEDs every month, basically, you either didn't find one, in which case you presumably assumed it was working, or you did find one and were probably killed by it.

And I think it's literally as black and white as that. I think these people were duped and therefore -- they had faith in it if they survived.

ANDERSON: Have you examined any of these devices?

HUNTER: I've had a look at the photographs of the components. The British obviously never bought them, and as far as I understand, the United States military didn't buy them, either, because they go through very stringent testing procedures. And obviously, the don't work, so they wouldn't have procured them.

But when I looked at the photographs, there was nothing in there that can actually detect an explosive vapor or an explosive trace using the -- the handle of the plastic case and the antennas. It just wouldn't work.

ANDERSON: They're still used in Iraq. We've just shown our viewers footage that we shot today in Baghdad. Why, if they patently don't work, are soldiers still using them?

HUNTER: I can only assume it's a sort of -- a cultural thing. In certain countries, saving face is incredibly important, and I think if so much money has been spent on these things, then potentially people are still being ordered to use them through face-saving, but I really don't understand.

McCormick's been convicted, it's been proven that they don't work independently, there's nothing in my experience -- and I've spent 17 years in the trade -- I don't really see how anybody could possibly be duped by this. But of course, there are so many who have been.

ANDERSON: How good is the equipment out there? Aside from what we've seen that's just bogus devices. What sort of equipment do you use and how good is it?

HUNTER: Well, the detection equipment is superb out there. You've got, effectively, equipment that will detect the vapor of explosives or detect the residue of explosives, any physical explosive is there. You've got ground-penetrating radar. And of course, you've got all this sort of - - the dogs and the canine search, if you like.

So, there's lots of different effective methods out there for detecting them, but I'm just astonished that so many people have been duped by this particular device.

ANDERSON: Pleasure having you on, sir. Thank you.

Live from London, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Up next, new evidence of just how desperate life was for early settlers in America. Stay with us for a story of cannibalism.

And reaction to the news that eight-time world boxing champion Floyd Mayweather could be on the verge of fighting on UK soil for the very first time. All that coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: To eat a fellow human being is largely a global taboo. Tell that to Luis Suarez. I'm only joking. An act we consider repulsive if not unthinkable. It's now been found, though, some of the first English settlers were forced to resort to cannibalism in America, faced as they were with starvation. Let's kick this part of the show off with Lisa Sylvester, who has the story for you.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They came by the ship with their hopes. Jamestown, the first permanent English colony in North America in 1607. It was long believed that James Fort on the island had, over time, washed away. But beginning in 1994, archaeologists began finding the remains of the original fort.

And then something even more astounding was discovered last year. This is a skull that forensic archaeologists say was that of a 14-year-old girl of European descent, who they are calling Jane. She was onboard a ship that arrived in 1609.

It couldn't have been a worse time. The food supplies they were bringing from England were lost in a severe storm, and tensions were high between the Powhatan Indians and the settlers.

JAMES HORN, VICE PRESIDENT OF RESEARCH, COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG: All of a sudden, 300 settlers who've survived the crossing, arrive at Jamestown, very little in the way of food supplies. And it's at that very moment that the Powhatans and English begin an all-out war.

The fort is cut off. It's besieged by the Powhatans, and these 300 men, women, and children are trapped within the confines of the fort itself.

SYLVESTER: They had only enough food to last two months, just as winter was setting in. A winter known as the Starving Time of Jamestown. No food, disease, and war.

JAMES KELSO, JAMESTOWN REDISCOVERY PROJECT: In the records, there were accounts of the fact that when the -- things were so desperate and it was very hopeless for the colonists that they resorted -- some resorted to cannibalism.

But they were kind of enigmatic references. Some believed it, some didn't. But now we have the physical evidence of it, and it's the only physical evidence ever been found in the sites that date to the colonial period in America, that -- proves that this took place.

SYLVESTER: That proof is this skull. It was found at an abandoned cellar of the fort. Forensic archaeologists now have confirmed that on Jane's jaw, there were cuts from a very sharp knife, consistent with efforts to remove flesh. Consistent with cannibalism.

KELSO: This discovery really, to me, has made such an impact on my empathy with the hardships that the settlers went through for that time period and how close Jamestown came to failing. If it failed, the course of American history would be very different.

SYLVESTER: November of 1609, there were 300 settlers. By the time more provisions arrived the following spring, there were only 60 settlers left.

Lisa Sylvester, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: As the history books show, cannibalism not isolated to Jamestown. One of the most famous incidents involved the Donner Party, a group of American pioneers who ate their fellow travelers to stay alive in 1846. They'd been -- become snowbound in the Sierra Nevada during the ill- fated journey to California.

Then, in 1874 came the Cospatrick Disaster. The British emigrant ship caught fire off the coast of Good Hope, and its five survivors resorted to eating their dead companions as they wanted -- awaited rescue.

And more recently, 16 members of a Uruguayan rugby club survived by consuming human flesh for two months after their plane crashed in the Andes in 1972.

For an act that is relatively rare, there are many scholars out there who study cannibalism. I was fascinated by this. One of them is science journalist Sarah Everts, and she joins me now on Skype from Berlin. Sarah, did the findings that English settlers in North America turned to cannibalism surprise you?

SARAH EVERTS,SCIENCE JOURNALIST: I found it a tragic story, but I wasn't at all surprised or shocked. Unfortunately, famine cannibalism is a reality that's been taking place in civilized society for a very long time. As early as medieval England, there are reports that during famines, human flesh was actually sold in marketplaces.

And as you've pointed out, there's many modern examples of this so- called famine cannibalism where people are so hungry that they have no other choice but to eat one another.

ANDERSON: That was going to be my next question. Why do -- or why did -- people turn to cannibalism? Is it because they were desperate to survive, or is it at one stage that they were just hungry, as it were? It was just part of the daily thing? Diet?

EVERTS: It's hard to say, I wasn't there. But there's also many other kinds of cannibalism that have taken place throughout history. There's medical cannibalism that was taking place in Europe at the same time that this famine happened in Jamestown. Jamestown took place in 1609.

That same century was the height of a practice called eating mummy, where people from England to Spain would eat parts of mummies imported from Egypt to cure their ailments. And it became so popular that when there wasn't enough mummy to go around, people began to eat local cadavers, and not just skin but flesh, bone, blood --

ANDERSON: Lovely. Lovely.

EVERTS: -- every part.

ANDERSON: Lovely. It's getting late here, and I need to go to bed soon and I don't want to have nightmares, so let's just close this out with one other question, though. See, I'm being very serious here. Are there cases of cannibalism today, and what's the sort of health risk involved?

EVERTS: Well, there's a very real health risk, particularly if you eat the brain. For example, last century, in the 20th century, there was a case of prion disease, like mad cow disease, but in humans, that took place in Papua New Guinea.

There there's a people called the Fore people, and as part of their funeral rites, they would eat family members. It was a respectful good- bye, effectively. But unfortunately, there was an outbreak of prion disease that was linked to the consumption of their dead relatives' brains.

ANDERSON: Wow. Thank you, Sarah.

What do you think about cannibalism? The team at CONNECT THE WORLD wants to hear from you, facebook.com/CNNconnect. Have your say. And you can tweet me @BeckyCNN. I'm -- I guess I am asking why? I'm just -- that's the question. Make of it what you will.

Coming up after the break, after a crushing defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich, we ask can Barcelona still be called the world's best club team? That's up for debate. It's a good one. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CROWD CHEERING)

(PEOPLE SPEAKING GERMAN)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: After playing football giant Barcelona, Bayern returned triumphantly home to Germany as they now get to prepare to face fellow Germans Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final. Welcome back.

Nobody's won the final yet, of course, but there are celebrations already in Germany just for the very fact you've got two German teams at the top of world football. For more on that, let's go to Don Riddell at CNN Center. Did you forecast this?

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Did I forecast this? I don't think anybody really forecast this --

ANDERSON: Be honest.

RIDDELL: -- kind of earlier in the tournament. But I think it certainly got to a point where I thought this was certainly possible. And you looked at the injuries Barcelona were carrying in the back line. Obviously, Lionel Messi has been struggling in the last couple of weeks.

And Bayern, frankly, have been playing absolutely brilliantly in Germany. They've romped to the Bundesliga title. They've scored an absolute ton of goals in the process. And so I think both teams do absolutely deserve to be there.

And of course there's a lot of excitement in Germany, not just because it's the first-ever all-German final, but because of the manner in which they dispatched two of the all-time great sides, Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Not only are Bayern back in Germany, but they're also back in training. No rest for them, and you can see there, coach Jupp Heynckes, he is saying the job is not fully done yet. There still, of course, is the final to go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUPP HEYNCKES, COACH, BAYERN MUNICH (through translator): I think it was a memorable day yesterday to win three-nil at the Camp Nou against Barcelona, the world's best team. We are obviously very happy to have completed the first step in reaching the final.

But it's not over yet. We still have a lot ahead of us with the Champions League final and the German Cup final.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIDDELL: They've caught another game against Borussia Dortmund. Would you believe, Becky, they're actually playing them in the Bundesliga this weekend.

Now, normally, a fixture like this would be considered one of the highlights of the Bundesliga season, but it's being described now as just, frankly, an awkward moment because the title is already done. That's already been settled. Bayern Munich have already won that.

Of course, it's going to be interesting to see how the two sides approach this, because neither are really want to going to give very much away ahead of the big one, which is at Wembley on May the 25th.

ANDERSON: Or whether they bother to field particularly good teams, I guess. Anyway, that will be an interesting one. Fourteen goals across two legs. We couldn't have asked for more, could we? And how exciting! Do you think Barcelona's sort of reign at the top is over?

RIDDELL: Well, it is for this season for sure. It's interesting, because they've run away with the Spanish league title. They haven't actually been crowned champions yet, but they're going to do it very soon. Their fourth Spanish league title in five years.

But it's just going to be kind of so bittersweet for them. It's almost going to count for not very much because of what's happened to them in the Champions League this season.

I do feel that once they get some of their injured players back, then they will be a decent team again. The problem is, Bayern Munich just looks so good, and of course, they've got Pep Guardiola, the former Barcelona coach, coming to take over them in the summer. So, I suspect they're just going to get even better.

ANDERSON: The timing couldn't be better.

RIDDELL: Yes, I know.

ANDERSON: Listen, age is just a number -- I keep telling myself that -- at least for one young Chinese golfer. Tell me more.

RIDDELL: Yes, you and I aren't getting any younger, but --

(LAUGHTER)

RIDDELL: -- Chinese golfers are. There's a -- this kid is just 12 years old -- 12 years and 242 days old, Ye Wocheng. He set a record earlier this Thursday becoming the youngest golfer ever to play on the European tour. He was in action at the Volvo China Open.

He was even par though his first six holes. He actually finished seven over for a 79. But look at this. This was for a bogie. But he chipped in from absolutely miles away. There's no doubt that this kid has got talent --

ANDERSON: Oh!

RIDDELL: -- and he can play. But he's not even a teenager yet. Let's just look -- take a look at the recent record-setting golfers. Of course, Guan Tianlang has been in the news a lot recently making the cut and finishing as the best amateur at the Masters this year. But Ye has absolutely smashed his record by almost a year. Quite remarkable.

ANDERSON: Oh, it's just sickening more than remarkable I think. Anyway, listen, I know you've got some boxing news coming up in "World Sport," that's in about a half hour's time, so viewers, do join Don for that. Always a pleasure, Don, thanks.

RIDDELL: Thank you.

ANDERSON: All last year, iReports helped CNN cover some of the world's biggest stories by sending in their -- or your -- pictures and video. Now, we are honoring those contributions in what is the third annual CNN iReport Awards.

And we've chosen 36 nominees in 6 categories, and today, we're going to take a look at the hopefuls for the In-Depth Storytelling Award.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CROWD CHANTING)

CARLOS CHIOSSONE, SUPER STORM SANDY STORIES: You still see all the devastation of the houses, but the people now have hope.

GERARD BRAUD, ISAAC'S AFTERMATH: Lake Pontchartrain is back in its banks, but over the yard is an entire debris field.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: We've been showcasing nominees for other categories, and we're looking for help in nominations for the special Community Choice Award, and that's your job. Get involved, cnnireportawards.com.

Tonight's Parting Shots, a little dog with a big problem. Meet Obie, the dachshund whose elderly owners overfed him to the point he weighed a whopping 77 pounds.

Before he could be killed with kindness, a vet stepped in and adopted Obie, putting him on a weight loss program, and the regime not only diet food and a special bowl to slow down his penchant for scarfing, but a tummy tuck to get rid of his excess flesh.

He's reportedly now much closer to the 30 pounds of a regular dachshund. And when we get pictures of him, he's been feeling a little shy about his new look, we will get you pictures and we will bring those to you, viewers. He doesn't look anything like that anymore.

I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. A very good Thursday evening to you from the team here in London.

END