Return to Transcripts main page


G-20 Summit Ends, Obama Heads Home; Gupta Visits Secret Mosque- Clinic; Labor Department Releases Employment Figures; NSA Hacks All Encryption; Spain Train Driver Admits Speeding; SpaceShipTwo Test Flight Success; McCain Constituents Voice Discontent; Schedule on Syria; World Weighs Options on Syria; Kenneth Cole Tweets; 2016 Olympic Park Taking Shape

Aired September 6, 2013 - 12:30   ET



Leaders of the most powerful economies in the world have wrapped up their summit in Russia. President Vladimir Putin says he and President Obama did discuss Syria.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CO-ANCHOR: Yeah, but they didn't reach any agreement on it. They said it was tough talking, but nobody changed their positions.

The two presidents remain locked in staunch opposition over just how to handle this crisis.

MALVEAUX: President Obama is heading home this hour. He's going to address the American people on Tuesday about his proposal to attack Syria in response to last month's chemical weapons attack.

HOLMES: Meanwhile, Syria's parliament has written a letter to the U.S. House calling for civilized dialogue not blood and fire as this crisis escalates.

As we said, they did the same thing to the British parliament which ended up voting no.

MALVEAUX: And more than two million people have fled the fighting in Syria. They are seeking refuge in neighboring countries like Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. And they bring with them a heavy burden.

HOLMES: Yeah, they need food, they need water, shelter and also medical care. That's critical.

In Lebanon alone, the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees has caused a severe spike in the cost of rent, food and basic necessities for Lebanese citizens.

MALVEAUX: Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports from a refugee camp. This is near the Lebanese-Syrian border.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: We're in Beqaa Valley, just walking distance from the border between Lebanon and Syria, and we've been to some of the refugee camps trying to figure out how people are being cared for.

And what they're seeing here, specifically -- we're in sort of this secretive clinic, this makeshift clinic. It was actually a mosque.

I want to show you something here, the victims of gunshot wounds or explosions, and they are getting their care now here in this makeshift clinic.

The entire staff, including the doctors, the nurses, all part of that coalition from the Free Syria Army as well, operating in this particular area, again just minutes away from the border.

Now the concern is for so many people here, especially the medical staff. what to do if the numbers grow, if they have dozens, hundreds or even thousands of more people. They don't have enough resources. They don't have enough room and not enough supplies to be able to take care of everyone.

So they're trying to come up with emergency plans.

But, again, behind me, this is what it looks like. These are some of the consequences that we see of what's happening here, so many people having suffered these gunshot wounds and now trying to get the best care that they can.

Back to you.


HOLMES: Sanjay Gupta there.

Of course, the situation is desperate inside Syria as well, the so- called IDPs, internally displaced. And those hardest hit always the kids.

MALVEAUX: And a lot of those kids are dying.

In the next hour, Arwa Damon is actually going to take us to one of those makeshift hospitals where children are just simply struggling to stay alive. They don't have food. They don't have the proper medical care.

HOLMES: Literally starving.

MALVEAUX: It's a humanitarian crisis.

HOLMES: It's terrible.

All right, the new jobs report is out here in the U.S. The unemployment rate did fall, but maybe for the wrong reason.

We'll explain all of that when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MALVEAUX: Hiring in the U.S. moving at a slow pace now, actually, that's the word out of Washington.

The Labor Department's monthly unemployment report, the economy adding 169,000 new jobs in August. That's fewer than what economist had predicted.

The jobless rate fell to 7.3 percent from 7.4 percent in July.

HOLMES: But here's the rub. That drop happened because more than 300,000 people actually gave up looking for work, took themselves out of numb numbers.

The report affecting stocks today, and you can check out the Big Board there. You see that the Dow Jones is up marginally, 31 points about a quarter of one percentage point.

MALVEAUX: And this is causing a lot of consternation here. Your private e-mails, banking information, medical records and Internet chats are apparently not so private.

The latest documents from the NSA leaker Edward Snowden tell us that the NSA has broken the codes on all of that personal communication.

HOLMES: Yeah, that so-called encryption, don't trust it.

The NSA apparently developed more covert ways of unscrambling the private online safety nets after losing a public battle in the '90s to put backdoor spying software into all programming.

It looks like they went ahead and did it any way. That's according to the leakers.

MALVEAUX: Yeah, and this here in Spain, this is just moments after the accident. The driver of train that crashed earlier this summer, killing 79 people, he told a colleague he was distracted.

Now in the phone recording released on Spanish media, Jose Garzon says he was going more than twice as fast as he intended when he came to that bend as you've seen where the accident happened.

HOLMES: That video is still shocking to watch.

Garzon also said he had previously reported that that curve in the track was dangerous, but he also acknowledged in that call he was meant to be going 80-kilometers-an-hour. He was going 190.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MALVEAUX: On to California, actually it was up, up and away, no issues for Richard Branson's SpaceShipTwo.

The planned Virgin Galactic commercial spacecraft reached its highest altitude and speed ever in a test flight over the Mohave Desert on Thursday.

HOLMES: It's such cool idea, isn't it? The craft reaching 69,000 feet before using that tilt-wing feathering maneuver. You know what that is?

MALVEAUX: Yeah, sure.

HOLMES: To land safely. SpaceShipTwo is designed to carry up to six passengers into space. It obviously has commercial applications and, also, perhaps, for NASA as well.

MALVEAUX: Yeah, kind of cool stuff.

And the president says that something has to be done in Syria, but if it's not a military strike, then what?

We're going to take a look at some of the other options.


HOLMES: Welcome back.

Congress, gearing up for what is sure to be a very heated debate on Syria next week, but the fireworks are already flying for the lawmakers here at home.

MALVEAUX: Senator John McCain got a taste of that. He's been pushing hard for military action going beyond the Obama administration's plan.

This is a town hall that happened last night in Arizona, getting an earful from his constituents within the hour.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm very heartfelt by the Syrians. That's a whole other part of the world, a whole other countries that can do something about it besides us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what I think of Congress. They are a bunch of marshmallows.

Why are you not listening to the people and staying out of Syria? It's not our fight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We cannot afford to turn Syria into another Iraq or Afghanistan. I beg you.

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: My effort is to not put a single American life in danger.


MALVEAUX: Members of Congress wrapping up summer recess and then they are going to, of course, brace for a busy week.

And those town halls are happening throughout the country. They are getting it.

HOLMES: Yeah, and a lot of people objecting to this. Have a look at the packed timeline, by the way. We have a calendar up.

As soon as members get back to Washington, lawmakers are expected to begin their debate on the president's proposal authorizing that limited strike in Syria. The measure was approved by the Senate foreign relations committee on Wednesday.

MALVEAUX: A vote in the Senate is expected next week, and the president is going to be returning from the G-20 summit in Russia tonight.

He's then going to deliver a national address on the Syrian crisis on Tuesday before the American people.

Also next week, a Russian delegation, they're actually going to come here to Capitol Hill to lobby against a strike.

HOLMES: It's going to be interesting to see who meets with them.

Also that U.N. report on Syria's suspected chemical weapons attack, or at least where the chemicals were involved not who did it, that could be released as well.

Very busy calendar.

MALVEAUX: And president says that fellow G-20 leaders all agree that something, of course, has to be done about Syria and what he is pressing for is military strikes, but there's really a spectrum of possible international action.

HOLMES: There is. Yeah. Bombs and missiles, of course, just one end of that, but here are some alternatives. We'll run through just a few of them for you.

The international community could choose to arm up the rebel forces for fighting Syrian troops. Of course the big concern there is, who are you arming exactly?

MALVEAUX: The United Nations could squeeze Syria harder with tougher economic sanctions or get involved in more humanitarian ways.

U.S. Senators right now are talking about perhaps giving the Assad government 45 days to sign a chemical weapons ban or face some sort of military action.

HOLMES: An interesting option.

There's also the idea of trying to break up Syria's army from the inside, encouraging troops to defect. That has happened through this conflict, but its slowed down according to a lot of people inside the country.

Also, of course, some analysts are saying doing nothing about Syria is better than making a big military mistake. Former U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen joining us now.

And thanks so much for being with us. When you ran the Pentagon, there were times that you had to get directly involved in internal conflicts overseas, notably, of course, Kosovo and Iraq. How does that decision making process unfold? How difficult is it? What are you up against?

WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: It's always difficult. In fact, it's the last decision that any president wants to make because you're going to, inevitably, put our young men and women, our brave young men and women, into harm's way. And so it's the last thing you understand. Even something called a surgical strike. It sounds very anti-septic, bloodless, it's not. You will kill combatants. You will kill innocent civilians as well. So any time a commander in chief has to make that decision, it's very solemn. So it's not -- it's not easily reached.

In this particular case, the president has felt compelled, apparently, by virtue of the fact that he drew a red line, which he claims now is an international red line, against using chemical weapons. And so having -- apparently Assad having crossed that line, some reaction has to be taken. The question is, what military action is the president actually planning?

You talk about a limited strike. What does that accomplish? You have people like Senator McCain, Senator Lindsey Graham saying that's not enough. You need to help the rebels in - the ones we are supporting, in a much more robust way. And then you will alter the balance of power on the ground. If that takes place, you have a chance of bringing Assad to the bargaining table. That's the rationale behind it.

But the president has made, I think, two different arguments. On the one hand, to those who are reluctant to go to war as such, it is an act of war, he's saying it's very limited. To people like John McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham, he's saying, we're going to do much more. So we've got to be very clear, is it much more or much less. And you can't have it both ways. So the president's got to clarify exactly what he intends.

MALVEAUX: And, Secretary Cohen, I mean you - we've been watching the G-20 Summit here and we saw the president, as well as Putin, come out. They said they met for 20 minutes or so on the margins and both of them acknowledged here that they don't agree over the -- whether or not the U.S. should strike militarily. He did, however, Putin, say that the foreign ministers' belief (ph) in the future. Looking at what the president accomplished overseas, do you think there is an alliance here that he has built that is adequate enough when it comes to Canada, France, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, among others, that would indeed make this a successful military mission, or are we really essentially doing this on our own?

COHEN: Well, first i would have hoped that the president, and President Putin, could have met longer than 20 minutes. I think it's really important because you're talking about the two powers involved in this particular mission, with the Russian's supporting Syria, with the United States trying to support the opposition to the Syrian government. I would have hoped that they would spent more time together.

I would hope also that President Obama will go to the U.N. Security Council, will lay out the overwhelming evidence that we claims we have, and, therefore, demonstrate to the U.N. Security Council, here's the evidence, action must be taken. If Russia, at that point, just simply disregards irrefutable evidence, what it will do is it will show that it's very futile to go to the U.N. for any kind of security action in the future and that you're encouraging the breakdown of the international rule of law, encouraging the U.S. and other countries to take measures on their own. That's not a healthy thing for us to be doing. But nonetheless, if Russia insists, and China, insists in the face of irrefutable evidence that nothing should be done, then I think we're headed in that direction.

HOLMES: Yes. And, in fact, the president raising that specter of a - if a paralyzed U.N. Security Council does nothing, whether you go around it. In that case, you just make the U.N. even more impotent than a lot of people think it has been in varying conflicts.

Mr. Cohen, Secretary Cohen, thanks so much. We appreciate you being with us today.

COHEN: Appreciate it.

MALVEAUX: And the question, of course, when does an international crisis become a platform for promoting retail products? For most it would be never, but not for this guy. We're going to explain, up next.


MALVEAUX: All right. Kenneth Cole at it again. An international crisis. Well, expect to hear a tweet from the designer promoting his products. Watch this.

HOLMES: Yes, here we go again. And this time about Syria he tweeted, "boots on the ground or not, let's not forget about sandals, pumps and loafers."

MALVEAUX: Joining us from the New York Stock Exchange, Zain Asher.

So, Zain, he did a similar thing over the uprising in Egypt. What's behind all of this?

ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, a lot of branding experts I spoke to are divided. Some of them are saying, but, you know, it's not necessarily he's trying to promote his brand. They think he's trying to promote himself. He wants to get his name talked about.

But, you know, it's actually - it doesn't seem to be working. I was looking on Twitter and I was looking at the reaction to a lot of people to these tweets. I'm going to read some of them to you.

One person saying, "there's nothing funny about the Kenneth Cole tweet. I've lost many friends in war and I've been in the middle of one myself." Another person saying, "I think Kenneth Cole's marketing department must know exactly what they're doing. They're getting a ton of free media."

I do want to mention, on any given day, a Kenneth Cole tweet gets about eight to ten retweets, I'd say. This particular one, Suzanne, was retweeted 500 times and it was favorite-ed 230 times. But, you know, he is responding to the backlash. He's standing by the tweet. He's not taking it down. Take a listen to what he posted to Instagram.


KENNETH COLE, CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER, KENNETH COLE PRODUCTIONS: I've always used my platform to promote dialog about important issues, including HIV/AIDS, war and homelessness. I'm well aware of the risks that come with this approach. And if this encourages further awareness and discussion about global (ph) issues, then all the better.


ASHER: Right. Also on his Twitter account he does describe himself as an aspiring humanitarian and a frustrated activist. A lot of people saying that this isn't necessarily the right way to promote dialogue.


HOLMES: An interesting way of being an activist. Rather flippant a lot of people would say.

I suppose in a way we're playing into his hands by even talking about it now.

ASHER: Yes. Absolutely. It does seem that way. I do want to mention, interestingly enough, that one of Kenneth Cole's lines is called Kenneth Cole Reaction. Obviously reaction is exactly what he's getting from this. If you look, though, this tweet was posted from Kenneth Cole's personal account. Not his corporate account. The corporate account makes no mention of this what so ever. And I did speak to a branding expert who said that, yes, you know, it does appear that he's overstepped the line. But other people say, you know, people do tend to have short term memories for this kind of thing and they probably will forget about it soon enough.


MALVEAUX: All right, Zain, thanks. We appreciate it.

We got new images now of what Rio de Janeiro will look like for the 2016 Olympics. We're going to take you there, next.

HOLMES: Great pictures. Stick around for this one.

MALVEAUX: Yes, I like them.


HOLMES: OK. We'll soon know who the host is going to be for the 2020 summer games. But in the meantime, we've got some new, impressive images of the Olympic Park in Rio, stoking a lot of excitement for 2016.

MALVEAUX: Shasta Darlington, she's got the images and more.


SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: New images have been unveiled showing Rio de Janeiro like you've never seen it before. That's because this is a mock-up of what the Olympic Park will look like when the games kick off three years from now in 2016.

Now, the park was designed by the same British architects who built the 2012 London park. But this time the flowing pathways are supposed to resemble the meandering Amazon River. It will be lit up at night. Some of these lights look like the Olympic flag.

Now, the park is currently under construction, but according to organizers, everything is on schedule.


MALVEAUX: And tomorrow the International Olympic Committee will name the host city for the 2020 games. And we know finalist Madrid, Tokyo and Istanbul. Now, if Istanbul is chosen, it would be the - make Turkey the first Muslim county to host the Olympics.

HOLMES: Yes, a great city. It's going to be interesting who they pick.

Now Madrid, it's interesting, because this is actually the third time they have applied. And given the financial crisis in Spain, a lot of people are worried about that. But because they've applied three times, they have a lot of the facilities already set up.

MALVEAUX: And Tokyo's bid is overshadowed by concerns, of course, over continuing radiation leaks from the Fukushima nuclear plant, but that is 150 miles away.

HOLMES: Who you going for?

MALVEAUX: Let's see, I think Madrid maybe.

HOLMES: I want Istanbul. But, anyway, yes, they're all - they're all good choices.

MALVEAUX: We'll see.


MALVEAUX: And, it is roughly the size of New Mexico. That is what scientists are saying about this underwater volcano that they discovered.

HOLMES: Great stuff, isn't it? This is a volcano found about 1,000 miles east of Japan. It covers an area of about 120,000 square miles. To give you an idea of how big that is, the largest active volcano on dry land is - what is it Mauna Loa in Hawaii.

MALVEAUX: I think so.

HOLMES: Did I say that right?

MALVEAUX: Yes. Yes, I think you're right.

HOLMES: OK. That's about 2,000 square miles. So, that is - that's 2,000 square miles. This one's 120. Wow, that's big.

All right, they're telling me to go.

MALVEAUX: Thanks, Josh (ph).

HOLMES: Thanks for watching AROUND THE WORLD. I'm Michael Holmes.