Return to Transcripts main page


American Held in North Korea Now Hospitalized; Nazi War Crime Suspect Dead at 98; "Soft Target" Attacks in Iraq Over the Weekend; Chinese Buyers Snapping up U.S. Homes; Massive Storm Hits Philippines

Aired August 12, 2013 - 12:30   ET



MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: The family of an American held in North Korea now very worried about his health, a man named Kenneth Bae. He was sentenced to 15 years in a labor camp, accused of so-called "hostile acts" to bring down the North Korean government.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Now, Bae's speaking out from a hospital in Pyongyang as his family holds out hope that he will be freed.

Paula Hancocks has the details.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michael and Brooke, Kenneth Bae spent just three months in a North Korean labor camp before being hospitalized. He had been sentenced to 15 years. His family back in the United States are very worried that his condition will deteriorate.


HANCOCKS (voice-over): We've seen Kenneth Bae working in a North Korea labor camp. Now we see him in a Pyongyang hospital.

KENNETH BAE, AMERICAN IMPRISONED IN NORTH KOREA (via translator): I broke the DPRK law, so that's why I'm in the labor camp. I think that a high-level U.S. officials should come and bring me back to the U.S.

I think the official should come and apologize on behalf of the U.S. government to get early release. This is my request to the U.S. government.

HANCOCKS: Kenneth Bae was sentenced in April to 15 years in a labor camp for what the regime calls "hostile acts" to bring down the government. His family says he's a tour operator with a missionary background.

Bae was visited in hospital Friday by a Swedish diplomat. Sweden represents U.S. in the country as the U.S. has no diplomatic presence. Bae's health is deteriorating. (Inaudible), the pro-North Korean group based in Tokyo that spoke to Bae in hospital says he has a spinal injury, lumbar and cervical pain and gallstones.

His sister tells me he has lost 50 pounds since being detained in November. Bae says he is concerned that his health will deteriorate again, once he's returned to the labor camp.

Over the weekend Bae's family held a prayer vigil for him in their hometown of Seattle. Two-hundred-eighty-one candles were lit on Saturday, one for each day Kenneth Bae has been held in North Korea.

TERRI CHUNG, KENNETH BAE'S SISTER: It's been incredibly difficult. There's been absolutely nothing we can do, really. We can do everything we can to try to raise awareness and send him letters and write letters to people who can who have the power to really advocate for him. We don't have that, so we're just trying to do everything we can to spread the word and to appeal to those who do have the power to bring him home.


HANCOKS (on camera): The U.S. government has called for Bae's release on humanitarian ground. And there have been rumors that former U.S. president, Jimmy Carter, will be heading to Pyongyang to lobby for Bae's release, a claim that has not been directly denied.

Michael and Brooke, back to you.


HOLMES: All right, Paula Hancocks.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

HOLMES: Yes. Violence in Iraq continues to rise, hundreds, thousands killed this year, in fact, attacks on so-called "soft targets."

BALDWIN: Including bus stops, markets, even coffee shops.


HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone. A Nazi war crime suspect who was arrested last year has now died. Laszlo Csatary is his name. He's accused of sending more than 15,000 Jews to the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944.

BALDWIN: He lived in Canada for several decades, but returned to Hungary before a deportation hearing. He was arrested after a Jewish rights organization discovered him living in Budapest. He denied the allegations against him. He was 98-years-old.

HOLMES: Let's turn to Iraq now. Weekend eve celebrations turned to sorrow, a wave of bombings shaking the country. At least 64 people were killed, almost 200 wounded.

BALDWIN: The fresh violence stems from a decades-old conflict.

Arwa Damon picks up the story.


ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In this Baghdad park during (inaudible), one can almost imagine that life in Iraq is normal, but it's anything but, smiles and laughter, brief moments where one can only try to forget the fear and the violence that permeates every aspect of life.

Despite people being worried, this Baghdad resident says, people are trying to venture out. I hope that Iraqis can develop and live in peace.

But once more, Iraq's bitter reality shattered any hope of that. On Saturday, a series of seemingly coordinated bombings spanning from Nasiriyah to Baghdad to Mosul in the north claimed dozens of lives and injured hundreds more. The attacks were aimed at supposed "soft targets: where civilians gather, bus stops, markets and coffee shops.

Where are the security forces? this man demands angrily. If you, Prime Minister Maliki, cannot deal with security, let somebody else.

The violence is the latest in a series of coordinated strikes. July was the deadliest month in Iraq in the last five years.

Al Qaeda in Iraq and other Sunni extremist groups have capitalized on the Shia-led government's failure to bring Sunnis into the political fold.

It's also expanded its operations into Syria under the umbrella of al Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant, further blurring battle lines and intertwining Iraq's fate with that of its neighbor.


HOLMES: And Arwa Damon joins us now from Cairo. Arwa, you spent so much time in Iraq, and it was ironic. I was talking to you before about this.

Listening to that story, the first part of it could have been from 2006, 2007, bombs, deaths every day and just carnage on the streets, in just the last few minutes another bombing. Why?

DAMON (on camera): You know, Michael, why is the question I think everyone in Iraq wants to have answered. For so many there, this violence is just inexplicable. It doesn't make any sense to them.