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New Wave of Violence Erupts in Egypt; Mobs Storm & Torch Christian Churches; Privacy Rules Broken; Online Predators are Bolder Now; Child Predators Lurk on Internet; Hackers Break "Post," "Time," CNN; Protesters Plan to Defy Curfew in Egypt; Israel Concerned for Egypt

Aired August 16, 2013 - 12:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Tear gas, gunfire and a curfew that goes into effect in less than an hour. Violence erupts on the streets of Cairo and our reporters are in the thick of it.

The latest bombshell from Edward Snowden. A new report details how the NSA has violated the privacy of Americans like you not one, not twice, but more than a thousand times a year since 2008.

And she is only 11 years old, but Daniela Liebman has already won international piano competitions in three countries and now she's going to play at the ultimate venue, Carnegie Hall.

Welcome to you to AROUND THE WORLD. I'm Fredricka Whitfield, in today for Suzanne Malveaux and Michael Holmes. And, of course, we welcome our international viewers as well.

A new wave of violence is erupting in Egypt right now. Supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsy have declared this is "Friday of Anger." Our Reza Sayah says security forces are battling thousands of protesters in downtown Cairo. Gunfire and tear gas has been used and dozens of people have been injured. Security forces fired tear gas at protesters headed toward Ramses Square in central Cairo. The demonstrators are defying a state of emergency that limits public gatherings. Reza Sayah joining us now on the phone from Cairo.

So give us an update on where you are exactly, Reza, and what is happening, in your view?

REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Fred, we're heading back to our office because a curfew is going to go into effect in less than an hour. But yet again today we witnessed some awful scenes in this political crisis in Egypt is increasingly escalating into a bloody and ferocious fight where more and more Egyptians are being injured and killed. This was a day when the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of the ousted president, Mohamed Morsy, called for mass demonstrations in response to Wednesday's bloody crackdown against their demonstrations that led to hundreds of people being killed. This was their way of saying that we're down but we're not out and we're going to continue to fight.

But these mass demonstration, these marches turned violent. We were at at least three locations in Cairo where we heard sporadic gunfire. At times it sounded like automatic weapons. We couldn't see where the gunfire was coming from, who was shooting, but we can tell you, on several locations, we saw these demonstrators who were marching to a major square in Cairo, come under fire. So it was either civilians, residents who are against the former president who were firing on these demonstrators, or police and soldiers. We spoke to several witnesses and they accused soldiers of opening fire. And based on what we've seen over the past six weeks, it's not unusual for police officers and soldiers to open fire indiscriminately and hit and injure and kill, often times, unarmed protesters. And it looks like that's what's happened again.

On one occasion, we were walking along the Coranij (ph), which is a road that runs along the Nile. The intention was for these demonstrators to go to Ramses Square, but they were blocked by police officers and we saw intense clashes. We were not in the front line when the clashes were taking place, but we could see one after another, at least scores of people injured. Some of them appeared to be badly injured, being taken away on motorcycles, on vehicles.

So, again, another bloody day in Egypt. And what's most worrisome, Fredricka, is that there's absolutely no indication that this conflict is going to end any time soon and, on the contrary, there's all sorts of signs that this conflict is intensifying.

WHITFIELD: All right, Reza Sayah, keep us posted, there from Cairo again on this day being called "Friday of Anger" by supporters of Mohamed Morsy.

Meantime, Christians in Egypt are also worried. They're worried about more attacks during this latest wave of violence. Already dozens of churches have been targeted and set on fire. Christians make up between five and 10 percent of the population in Egypt. By some accounts, it's home to the largest community of Christians in the Middle East. Christians have a long history in Egypt dating back to the first century. But right now they are living in fear. Here's Arwa Damon.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Amid the scorched walls of the Virgin Mary Church in a small village outside of Cairo, 67-year-old Shanuga el Sai (ph) steadily, silently sweeps, seemingly oblivious to the others around him.

"I'm sad," he says. "My religion tells me to come clean. I clean the church. The church is my home."

The Islamist pro-Morsy mob attacked at night, looting and then torching the building. What makes it all the more painful is that the perpetrators are from around here. They know some of them.

At least 30 other churches across the country were attacked in less than 24 hours. Egypt's minority Christian community once again finding itself in the crosshairs of a battle over which they have no control.

The violence started after Morsy's ouster on June 30th, Father Boktar Saad tells us. "They started organizing marches and demonstrations, chanting outside the church, chanting down with the church." He says he will continue to preach about the need for peace and tolerance, but it is going to take time to heal Egypt's many wounds.

DAMON (on camera): While we've been filming inside, some of the people kept on closing the door. They're worried that those who carried out this attack would see us here. They're concerned about our safety and all of this as well. And even while this cleanup operation is underway, there are still great fears that similar attacks are going to become more frequent in the future.

DAMON (voice-over): As we depart, gunfire on the overpass. We're signals to go back. Someone tells us it was a demonstration. An ominous sign perhaps of what's to come.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Cofahakim (ph), Egypt.


WHITFIELD: The U.S., meantime, is struggling to respond to the escalating crisis in Egypt, but how much leverage does the U.S. really have right now? We'll talk with former Defense Secretary William Cohen live later on this hour.

All right, Lebanon holds a day of mourning after a deadly car bomb rocked its capital. At least 22 people were killed and hundreds wounded in the blast Thursday. It happened in Beirut in an area dominated by the militant Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah. The group is helping Syria's government fight rebels. In a video posted on YouTube, a previously unknown Sunni group is claiming responsible. The group called Hezbollah's leader a pig and accused him of working on behalf of Iran and Israel.

The National Security Agency and the president of the United States both have steadily rejected charges that secret surveillance programs sometimes violate our privacy in the United States. But there may be something to those accusations after all. "The Washington Post" reporting the result of an internal NSA investigation that found nearly 3,000 cases of broken rule, privacy rules, in just one year. Here's Dan Lothian.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A general impression has, I think, taken hold not only among the American public, but also around the world, that somehow we're out there willy-nilly.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): That was President Obama just days ago, assuring the American public that the National Security Agency was not breaching the trust of its citizens. But a new report out today by "The Washington Post" may raise new concerns. After combing through the trove of documents leaked by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden, "The Post" reports that the NSA has broken privacy rules thousands of times each year since 2008.

"The Post" says most of the incidents involved surveillance of Americans and foreign intelligence targets on U.S. soil in ways that violate the program's rules. Of those incidents, "The Post" report most were "unintended" and many involved "failures of due diligence" or "violations of standard operating procedure," such as when an area code mix-up caused the NSA to intercept a large number of calls from Washington, D.C., instead of from Egypt.

The NSA response was quick. Overnight, the agency released a pointed statement. "NSA's foreign intelligence collection activities are continually audited and overseen internally and externally. When NSA makes a mistake in carrying out its foreign intelligence mission, the agency reports the issue internally and to federal overseers and aggressively gets to the bottom of it."


WHITFIELD: All right, Dan Lothian now with me from Edgerton, Massachusetts, not far from where President Obama is vacationing on Martha's Vineyard.

So, Dan, you know, that NSA statement is not an apology, they're just confirming that they do make mistakes. Can we expect to hear more from the president about any more specifications from this report, this audit, so to speak?

LOTHIAN: Well, Fredricka, at this point, no indication that the president will be speaking out any time soon about this specific report. I did reach out to a White House official and was told no comment at this point.

But, you know, the president has recently been talking about this issue quite extensively. Talking about some steps that he has taken to make this whole issue of surveillance more transparent. The president recently announced that he would be forming this high level, independent group to sort of analyze the technology, communications technology, surveillance technologies used by U.S. intelligence. And so the hope is, according to the president, that they can make the system more transparent and restore some of the trust among the American people.


WHITFIELD: All right, Dan Lothian, thanks so much, from Martha's Vineyard. Appreciate it.

All right, two families say their daughters are dead after sexual predators found them on the Internet. Parents, this is one for you. You'll see the police working to clear the web of sex criminals and what you can do to protect your kids online, next.

And everyone needs to feel valued, right? You'll want to see this. We'll take you to a village where people with dementia are living and working.


WHITFIELD: Two teenage girls in Canada are dead. Their families say the girls were driven to suicide by cruel people they met online. Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons were allegedly found by sexual predators who are getting bolder and smarter and more high-tech. Our Paula Newton talked to a special police unit that patrols the dark, often violent corners of the Internet.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Amanda Todd could take no more. The Canadian teenager killed herself after being bullied online. This YouTube video she posted is evocative and blunt. Her pain, obvious.

The kind of pain Rehtaeh Parsons, another Canadian teenager, knew so well. Parsons killed herself in April. Her family says she too was tormented by months of bullying after a photo of her alleged sexual assault was distributed online.

NEWTON (on camera): What are we seeing in real time here?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And, you know, over an amount of time, you're going to see this in any major city, whether that's Toronto, New York City or London.

NEWTON (voice-over): This is a snapshot of the online trading of child sexual abuse material and child pornography being spied on my Canadian police. And Sgt. Arnold Guaran (ph) takes us through the minefield of predators children can be exposed to online every day even if they believe they are only sharing with their friends.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They end up on the dirtier and darker parts of the Internet, being traded by people who have a sexual interest in the material.

NEWTON: Pedophiles have gotten a hold of it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They could be people who have an interest in child abuse material. That may not be the teenager that they thought.

NEWTON: Canadian police tell us this kind of cyber crime is socially and personally destructive to children and affords pedophiles access to them in an unprecedented way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's actually three components to the child exploitation unit here.

NEWTON: Inspector Bob Bresh (ph) from Canada's Child Exploitation Coordination Center takes us through his unit where officers work with international partners, their first priority finding the victims then abusers.

And these people are gathering evidence on real cases of child exploitation right now? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's correct. And their predominant focus is to find the suspect, the abuser.

NEWTON: Their most sensitive work is on the undercover unit, officers spying on gruesome material of child sexual abuse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just beyond comprehension that people would want to see or look at these types of things.

NEWTON: Here, they try to hunt down the child predators and identify child victims to make sure they are safe again.

Now I want you to come with me. I want you to meet someone. I can't tell you his name, but we are going to talk to him. He's working right now to identify child victims on the Internet.

This officer says he's seen it time and again, kids being abused, manipulated online, blackmailed by predators.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They'll go if you don't pose naked again, I'll give it to your friends.

And then, of course, the girl or boy are sitting there going, oh, my god. I don't want my dad to get this video, so they'll do it.

NEWTON: Again and again they will be abused this way?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Again and again.

NEWTON: It all serves as an explicit warning to children and parents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The experience that we've gained here and by speaking to offenders, we know there are people out there looking for children that they can abuse.

They trade methods of luring children. They speak to each other. They plan amongst themselves and, afterwards, they show their conquests.

NEWTON: Parents never find out about it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some do, and -- but most of them don't.

NEWTON: The death of this Canadian teen serves as a reminder that online predators can emotionally and physically harm children, many spying on the lives of young kids and just waiting to exploit their vulnerabilities online.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, my goodness, this is sobering.

Paula Newton with me now, so this is more than a news story. This really is a call to action for parents.

You have to be vigilant. You've got to know what's happening between the dialogue that your kid is having with someone out there.

So what's the advice? How do you police that because you can't be with your kid all the time?

NEWTON: Yeah, but there are two specific things I want to point out.

The first one is, when we talk about young people trying to explore their sexuality, a lot of them are taking "selfies," a picture of themselves that perhaps is provocative. They think they're sending it to another 15-year-old, another 14-year-old, maybe even some kids younger than that.

No, Fredricka, a lot of times what happens is -

WHITFIELD: I'm not even understanding that. Why are you doing that? Why?

NEWTON: And That's another issue. You know how difficult it is to have these conversations with young people, but tell them it is not just your friend looking at that. There are predators online looking at photos, getting information from those photos.

A lot of it, I hate to tell you, is going on in real-time online with these young people. They believe they're only speaking to each other. They believe they're only on video with each other. They are not.

WHITFIELD: They think it's private space.

NEWTON: And it is not. It's an open forum that many people who you don't want to have access to have access to it now.

And then let's deal with younger children. The anecdotal things the police officers told me of an offensive nature, we can't talk about their cases. but in terms of examples, they're about examples from kids as young as five or six.

Parents are saying, well, were they unsupervised? A lot of parents don't think they're unsupervised. But the point is, they're saying if you would not leave your child in a park alone at 5:00 or 6:00, do not leave them with an Internet device that's connected to the Internet -

WHITFIELD: That's a great analogy.

NEWTON: -- anywhere in the house unless you can see them. If you're not going to leave them online on the swings and drive away, do not leave them in your home alone with a device connected to the Internet.

WHITFIELD: And even if your child is in the same room as you and they are on the --

NEWTON: Figure out what they're doing.

WHITFIELD: -- you've got to look in every now and then, just supervise. Just make sure.

Be involved, if anything, so it doesn't -- so you don't feel like you're being a helicopter parent, I guess.

NEWTON: Absolutely. And like my kids, when it's too quiet in the house. Go upstairs. Your kids are in the closet looking at something they shouldn't. Look in the closet.

WHITFIELD: OK, all great advice, but all so scary as well.

Thanks so much, Paula. Appreciate that.

Another scary situation to think of, someone hacking into your computer system.

We'll tell you about one group that hit some high-profile sites as well.


WHITFIELD: Computer security is a big deal. A group called the Syrian Electronic Army has hacked into "The Washington Post," "Time" and, indirectly, here.

Alison, what happened?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Middle Eastern hackers infiltrated this company named Outbrain. It recommends articles to you based on what you're reading.

"The Washington Post" uses it, "Time" uses it, CNN and other big names. These three are the only companies affected.

The hacking group was the Syrian Electronic Army. What happened is, when you click on a link, it went to the Syrian Electronic Army's website.

Outbrain put out a statement saying it secured the network and blocked all external access to its system. That means the service is back up and running. Outbrain disabled the service temporarily yesterday.

WHITFIELD: What more do we know about this company?

KOSIK: It's a radical group that supports Bashar Assad. It's taken credit for hacking "The New York Post's" Facebook page and hacking BBC, "The Financial Times" and on as on.

One analyst says he's expecting this to continue. What seems to be happening is the group seems to be getting more advanced. There's reports they used to just send phishing e-mails.

The fact that the group is going after web based software services now that media organizations use it shows the group is getting smarter and more dangerous with its attacks.

WHITFIELD: Syrian Electronic Army. Very perplexing.

Thanks so much for bringing us that. Appreciate it.

The crisis in Egypt has huge implications around the world. We'll tell you what's at stake for the U.S. and Israel, next.


WHITFIELD: A curfew is about to take effect in Cairo as a new wave of violence ripped the Egyptian capital.

Supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsy have declared this as "Friday of Anger."

Our Reza Sayah says security forces are battling thousands of protesters in downtown Cairo. He reports hearing and seeing gunfire. And he says dozens of people have been injured.

The demonstrators are defying a state of emergency that limits public gathering. Already today at least nine people have been killed and 44 wounded. That's according to state-run media.

Israel is anxiously watching the crisis unfold in Egypt and there's a lot at stake for the Jewish state. Egypt is one of only two Arab countries that have signed peace treaties with Israel.

So who will make sure Egypt holds up its side of its agreement if the country descends into civil war?

Jim Clancy joins us live now from Jerusalem, so, Jim, what is Israel's biggest concern about the turmoil in Egypt right now?

JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: There's a concern that the way it's escalating and how the military is going to able to control this situation.

They enjoy a very good relationship with this military in Egypt right now. It has destroyed the tunnels going into Gaza, undercutting Hamas.

It has given them public cover when Israel violated the sovereignty of Egypt, allegedly sending in a drone to strike at militants who were about to fire a missile into Israel, the Egyptian military saying it never happened.

So in that context, they are very worried that this military is getting into a lot of trouble, that this military is going to have to put most of its attention on the Muslim Brotherhood.