CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

CONNECT THE WORLD

Dennis Rodman Criticized For Basketball Game; FIFA's Jerome Valke: 2022 World Cup Probably Changed To Winter; Chasing the Ivory

Aired January 8, 2014 - 15:00   ET

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


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: And tonight, too hot to host. A top FIFA official says the 2022 World Cup likely won't be played during Qatar's sizzling summer months.

So how controversial would a winter tournament be? And who stands to lose in the beautiful game's big decision?

Also ahead, going on the record: a former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates describes the Obama administration's intense policy debates over the Afghan war. We'll ask another Washington insider just how explosive those comments are.

And the death of a beauty queen, how the cold-blooded murder of this former Ms. Venezuela is sparking a debate about the country's spiraling crime rates.

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

ANDERSON: A very good evening. In eight years time, Qatar may host the world's first official winter World Cup. Since Qatar won the 2022 bid, there's been controversy, isn't there, over whether a traditionally summer event can be held in the sweltering summer months there.

Well, today's speculation reached fever pitch when FIFA's secretary- general made this comment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEROME VALKE, FIFA SECRETARY-GENERAL (through translator): Frankly, I think it will be played between November 15 and 15 of January at the latest. If you played between the 15th of November and let's say the end of December, that is the moment when the weather is most favorable.

You're playing in temperatures that are equivalent to a hot spring in Europe. So playing in an average temperature of 25 degrees, perfect for playing football.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, FIFA later made it clear that no decision has been reached and none would be made until later this year as FIFA's president Sepp Blatter explained past October.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEPP BLATTER, FIFA PRESIDENT: I wanted to create a discussion on the summer or winter. And I do not expect it that we go and make the decision now. We cannot make a decision without having consulted our partners. It is impossible. It is impossible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Now, the issue comes down to one of heat. Qatar can reach up to 50 degrees Celsius in the summer, posing a potential health risk to players and fans.

Now Qatar's organizing committee said today it, and I quote, "will be ready to host the World Cup regardless of FIFA's outcome."

Well, aside from health risks and breaking with tradition, moving the Cup is a big implications for the rest of the sporting world, as Alex Thomas explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Traditionally, the World Cup dates haven't been perfect, but they've worked fairly well. In the 84 year history of the tournament, it's only ever been held for three to four weeks around this time of year -- May, June, July -- historically to avoid clashing with the start of the European club season, which now gets underway in August.

If Qatar 2022 was moved to the start of the year, it will clash with all those rich and powerful leagues as well as the Winter Olympic games and the NFL playoffs, which could lead to an interesting conversation between FIFA and American rights holders Fox Sports who reportedly paid more than a billion dollars to screen World Cup games not expecting them to clash with the Super Bowl.

Slightly later in the year, there is the climax to the European Club season, that's around May time. And the Champion's League final held then, now watched by more people across the globe than the Super Bowl.

Jerome Valke's French radio interview mentioned November-December time. There's already a short break for international fixtures and a break for Christmas, but England's famous Premiere League goes all the way through that period. Germany's Bundesliga and Spain's La Liga, Italy Seria A, too, would all have to move matches to accommodate a World Cup date change. It all gets underway again in January remember.

It's hard to imagine any of those leagues agreeing to that without some form of compensation.

We'll find out later in 2014 which states will be chosen and how much it will end up costing FIFA.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: So you get it, we're talking here a multibillion dollar decision that has huge ramifications, not just for football fans who might be offended by the World Cup being at any other time than in June and July, the problems on the calendar are real. But the real challenge may lie in where people have put their checkbooks. Broadcasters pay, as I say, billions for the rights to sports events.

I want to bring in sports lawyer Mel Goldberg now.

I mean, as I say, this is -- this is a multibillion decision by FIFA. Firstly, why is it such a mess, this decisionmaking process?

MEL GOLDBERG, PRESIDENT, BRITISH ASSOCIATION FOR SPORT AND LAW: I think the answer to that is fairly simple, is that they were talking about for 2018 World Cup. This year, of course, it's Brazil, then they started voting on the next one and Russia was chosen. At the same time, they made the decision very quickly, without giving it a lot of thought, let's vote on the one after that as well, 2022.

And it kind of slipped under the radar. And people didn't give it the decisionmaking and the common sense needed. I mean, everybody knows that Qatar is boiling hot in the summer. If you play at 50 degrees during the day as normal, if you played it at nighttime it's still about 30 degrees, which is dangerous apart from anything else.

ANDERSON: I was there in September, we'd be talking June and July of course, if it was in the summer. I was there in September. And I'm going to show our viewers just a little bit of what I found there.

I mean, the cooling systems in the stadium are actually quite efficient. And those are the old fashioned ones at the moment. But it's what happens to the fans outside of the stadia, of course, and the players.

Listen, Mel, I spoke to the executive director of Qatar's committee, Nasser al-Khater is October last year when I was there. He told me that despite all this wrangling, Qatar is planning for the event that it won a bid for. Have a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NASSER AL-KHATER, EXECTUIVE DIRECTOR, QATAR 2022 SUPREME COMMITTEE: We bid for a summer World Cup. All our plans and our delivery is based on a summer World Cup. Our intentions are for a summer World Cup.

Now this has no impact on us. Our planning, our delivery will continue as we've always planned. Our cooling technology, which is a legacy that we want to contribute to the world and to contribute to regions and countries that have similar climates as Qatar and as the region. And this is something that we feel is going to open the doors for other countries to be able to host big events.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: The Qataris again underlining today, they can effectively host this whenever FIFA wants it to be hosted. But the big deal is this, isn't it, for years out the right to a sporting event like this have already been dolled out. I mean, you're a lawyer. This is going to be lawyer's bonanza as these contracts are renegotiated, am I right? We're talking multibillion dollar deals here.

GOLDBERG: Right, you're talking Fox, for example. Fox News have spent 265 million pounds on two consecutive World Cups. And if that clashes with other things like the...

ANDERSON: Like the NFL Super Bowl, for example.

GOLDBERG: Super Bowl, Olympic Games they're going to be very unhappy.

And I don't know how this will be resolved, but this mustn't go to litigation, because the cost will be enormous...

ANDERSON: Yeah, is there already precedent for that? I mean, FIFA paying liabilities, paying damages. I mean, this is an organization that's ready for all of that? Can you see it happening?

GOLDBERG: I don't think that will happen, they probably -- they know realize the decision they've made weren't probably throughout through. I mean, in 1980 I was involved in the Moscow Olympics. And there was a different kind of problem. The Olympics were in the summer, which was fine and the climate was fine. But nobody took into consideration the fact that just in December, Russia decided to invade Afghanistan and half the countries of the world didn't want to go.

In England, we had the problem equestrians didn't want to go, and yet the runners did want to go. And so there was major decisions. I was involved in some of the contracts disputes then. And people said, well, we don't want to go to an Olympic Games where the best countries, eg America, don't compete. And the Russian replay was, the Olympic Games will take place even if we're the only country there. Gold medals will be issued. And it's tough luck.

ANDERSON: To us.

GOLDBERG: To us.

ANDERSON: Listen, you're a football fan, just before you go. When would you want to see it played? Is it a problem to you, a winter game?

GOLDBERG: Well, it clashes with so many other things. There's a calendar throughout the year in the winter months. England are involved in their leagues and so are other countries. The Champion's League is playing. And there's millions of pounds spend on that as well.

It's the wrong time. There's going to be -- the only thing I can -- the only way I see this being resolved is FIFA sitting down and paying compensation to those companies who have laid out big money.

ANDERSON: I don't see them doing that, though, in the time being.

GOLDBERG: They might have to.

ANDERSON: Mel, always a pleasure. Thanks.

I want to hear your views on this story. What do you think about -- what does this get a northern hemisphere winter World Cup. I ask the Australians and they if you're hosting it in November or December, that's our summer. What's going on? Haven't they missed out on a bid, of course, for 2022. So they are furious understandably.

The team at Connect the World wants to hear from you. It's you're show, viewers. Go to Facebook.com/CNNConnect. You can tweet me with your thoughts @BeckyCNN, @BeckyCNN. There's a Spurs fan this season "I could have rather done without the December lineup." (inaudible) therapy. Not as a favor if there hadn't been any games.

All right, still to come tonight, rebels in Syria say their former comrades, al Qaeda linked militants, have crossed a red line. We'll have the latest on the in fighting as well as the dramatic shift in years of civil war.

An eccentric basketball star Dennis Rodman sings happy birthday to North Korea's leader. The latest on his basketball diplomacy efforts are ahead.

And how do you make a dent in the multibillion ivory trade? CNN teams up with park rangers in the Republic of Congo. That and much more after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: This is CNN. You're watching Connect the World. It is 13 minutes past 8:00 here in London. I'm Becky Anderson for you.

Now, new developments tonight in the fierce power struggle among rebels in Syria. An opposition group says al Qaeda-linked militants have now abandoned a base in Aleppo after it was attacked by other rebel brigades. Heavy fighting between the groups has been going on for days across the north of the country. CNN's Ivan Watson is monitoring developments from Turkey along the Syria border. He joins us now.

Ivan, what's the latest?

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, just a few hours ago we witnessed fireball explosions lighting up the darkened border town in Syria of Jerobose (ph) as battles raged there between this umbrella group of rebel fighters that are seeking to oust the al Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

This fighting has been taking place in cities and towns across northern Syria. For six days now it's the first time I've seen a hodgepodge of rebel groups unite not to pit against the security forces of Bashar al-Assad, but the fight against one of their own factions. In this case, the rebels claiming that the al Qaeda linked ISIS had gone too far, had been too violent that kidnapped and executed too many people while trying to establish what it claimed would be an Islamic state in opposition controlled northern Syria.

More than 300 people have been killed, more than 70 civilians over the course of this six days of internal conflict. It does appear that the ISIS has been pushed back out of a number of towns that it had considered strongholds just a few days ago. There are allegations of atrocities being committed by both sides.

I have to warn viewers, this next video is very graphic. It's disturbing. It is what the rebels claim are the bodies of at least nine prisoners of the ISIS who were found apparently summarily executed with their hands bound behind their backs in the northern city of Aleppo outside a children's hospital that the ISIS had been using as a base and as a detention center.

A Syrian observer for human rights also reports that the rebels have apparently summarily executed as many as 34 ISIS fighters in another northern Syrian town called (inaudible). It's not clear yet what this internal bloody power struggle, what affect it will have on the existing front lines between the Syrian rebels and Syrian regime forces -- Becky.

ANDERSON: The latest on Syria from Ivan.

And Ivan and his colleagues have filed a detailed report on Syria's war within a war, one of the top stories on the website. It also has a photo gallery there showing some more of the powerful images from this conflict. That's at CNN.com/international.

All right, well the al Qaeda militants are fighting to establish a Sunni extremist regime that stretches across both Syria and Iraq. ISIS fighters are exploiting Sunni discontent in Iraq's Anbar Province. They've besieged the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, creating a growing humanitarian crisis.

Now Iraq's Red Crescent says more than 13,000 families have now fled the violence in Fallujah in the past few days.

A trial of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy has been postponed until February 1. He was supposed to appear in a Cairo courtroom today, but a judge says the helicopter transporting him couldn't take off because of bad weather.

Morsy and 14 other Muslim Brotherhood members are charged with inciting the murder of protesters in 2012. The Brotherhood calls the trial a, quote, political vendetta.

Well, a fatal police shooting that triggered widespread riots in England in the summer of 2011 has been ruled lawful. Mark Dugan was killed after police stopped the taxi in which he was a passenger. The inquest jury found it likely that he had thrown a gun from the vehicle just moments before he was killed.

Now his death sparked the worst unrest in England for decades with looting and violence seen in a number of cities.

A group of American former basketball pros played an exhibition match in Pyongyang on Wednesday as part of a birthday celebration for North Korea's leader. After the game, just now, former player Dennis Rodman led the crowds in a happy birthday singalong for his friend Kim Jong un.

Marilyn Monroesque.

State TV quoted Kim Jong un as saying the game served as a good occasion to promote understanding between North Korea and the United States. But back in the U.S. opinion sharply divided on whether the trip was a good idea.

Karl Penhaul reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was billed as the Big Bang in Pyongyang. Even before tip off, the controversial basketball game was living up to the hype.

DENNIS RODMAN, FRM. NBA PLAYER: I give a rat's ass what the hell you think.

PENHAUL: With Dennis Rodman sharing those opinions about perceptions in a testy exchange on CNN.

The power forward Charles D. Smith is a philosophical counterpoint to Rodman. He insists the game is basketball diplomacy, an effort to warm ties with reclusive North Korea.

CHARLES SMITH, FRM. NBA PLAYER: The concept that we're doing is not new to the world. People have used sport for conflict resolution, one notable sport diplomacy issue was in 1972 between China and the U.S., the ping pong diplomacy.

PENHAUL: He was referring to a series of table tennis games between Chinese and U.S. players in the 70s at the height of the Cold War. Those games, unlike Rodman's, were sanctioned by the Chinese and U.S. governments. They were credited with paving the way to a 1972 meeting between President Nixon and Chairman Mao, the first visit by a U.S. president to Communist China.

Liang Geliang was one of the Chinese players involved in ping pong diplomacy. We met him in Beijing.

LIANG GELIANG, PING POINT PLAYER (through translator): We played for just a little while and that was that. But this had a huge impact way beyond ping pong, it helped relationship between people and between two countries.

PENHAUL: Liang thinks Rodman's game could help smooth world relations with reclusive North Korea.

GELIANG (through translator): I agree with Rodman playing in North Korea. Exchange through sports helps boost people's understanding with each other. It helps ease tensions and gives an extra channel for dialogue. This is between people, not governments.

PENHAUL: The White House does not agree. It says it does not sanction the game. And NBA bosses accuse Team Rodman of being in it for the money.

Meanwhile, Rodman has said he won't push for the release of American missionary Kenneth Bae, imprisoned in atheist North Korea on charges of conspiring to use religion to topple the government.

RODMAN: CNN, guess what, when I come back, once this game is historical around the world, this is all about the world peace doing one thing.

PENHAUL: There's no suggestion Kim Jong un will hand over Kenneth Bae to Rodman, but basketball's bad boy certainly believes he's on a mission bigger than just a game.

Karl Penhaul, CNN, Beijing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: And you're watching Connect the World. Coming up, a critique of the U.S. President's Afghanistan war policy from a real insider. The president's former defense secretary writes a bombshell book that claims Mr. Obama didn't believe in his own war strategy.

CNN joins park rangers in the Republic of Congo on their search for an underground ivory workshop. That story up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Pop quiz: you live in China and you're eager to flaunt your new found wealth. What do you splash your cash on? The latest mobile device? A designer handbag? Fast car or perhaps some intricately carved ivory jewelry, illegal maybe, but a must have for the upwardly mobile. On the Chinese black market, ivory is known as white gold and can fetch up to $3,000 per kilogram.

In CNN's exclusive series this week, Tracking the Ivory Tradel, CNN's Arwa Damon, photographer Peter Rudan (ph) and producer Brent Swales (ph) team up with a group of ecoguards in the Republic of Congo who are working to stop the illegal trade at source.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Evidence in hand, Machu Ekel (ph) has had enough. His eco guards have just found a carved ivory ring while searching vehicles at their checkpoint right outside the Odzala National Park. The two passengers Chinese nationals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You came from Muayuay (ph). You came where I made the search.

DAMON: He's referring to a Chinese road construction camp. A month ago, his rangers detained two Chinese men with ivory tusks who worked there.

Ekel (ph) went to the camp with the local prosecutor and found small pieces of ivory scattered on the ground. But rather than being allowed to search the buildings, his unit was told to leave.

(on camera): We spoke to the prosecutor who was with the ecoguard unit the day that they found the pieces of ivory. He refused to grant us an on camera interview. We asked him why it was that they didn't conduct a broader search at that exact moment. He responded by saying it was because the translator was to on the premises. And unless they were able to explain to the Chinese why they were searching the site, they would not be able to do so.

(voice-over): Ekel (ph) believes the camp runs an underground ivory carving workshop. But despite the accumulating evidence, no one has been able to search the camp.

Now with this carved ivory ring, Ekel (ph) has a new link to the Muayuay (ph) camp, but he doesn't know who owns the ring, the Chinese worker or his boss who speaks English.

Both are cuffed and driven off to jail.

On the way, more denials.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...ask if he know about ivory.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I ask him. He don't know.

DAMON: When they reach the jail, the Chinese camp manager and others are already waiting. Ekel (ph) makes one last attempt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe you will sleeping in jail, you will understand.

DAMON: The English speaking boss now says his employee is the owner of the illegal ivory. The worker signs a written confession in French, which he does not speak.

But the Chinese are angry, and so it Ekel (ph). These tensions and in what they say is a sign of good faith, the Muayuay (ph) bosses agree to let Ekel (ph) search the camp the next day.

The UN says insatiable Asian demand for ivory has almost wiped out Africa's elephant population. According to the UN data, the illegal ivory trade has tripled since 1998. Here in the Congo especially, the government's minister for forest economy says there's been an increase in arrests and seizures.

"It's because of the increase in their activities," he tells us. "Why? Because of the international bosses. They are using all means necessary to access these resources through out peoples, our criminals."

The next morning, we join the ecoguards as they drive to the Chinese road construction camp. Off camera, the managers tell us they are not aware of any illegal activity in the camp and promise to report any illegal activity to Ekel (ph). Minutes later, Ekel (ph) makes a find.

"This white powder, what is it?" He asks holding up a tool.

They respond that it's to carve wood. Ekel (ph) isn't convinced.

In the same spot where he find the ivory pieces a month ago, another small ivory fragment.

"This is ivory," he says.

If there was more evidence here, it's gone. And the fragments found are not enough to make a bust.

For the ecoguards, no arrest today, but they remain convinced that the pipeline remains wide open between this remote corner of Africa and the ivory markets of Asia.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Muayuay (ph), Republic of Congo

(END VIDEOATPE)

ANDERSON: And join us tomorrow as we bring into focus the Congo's Pygmy's, a minority group forced into the business of poaching. CNN's Arwa Damon learns from one Pygmy poacher turned ecoguard about the risks of turning against those gangs that are poaching.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAMON: Today, he's a hero, growing up he was anything but.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: For more on CNN's exclusive coverage of the hunt for ivory poaches in the Republic of Congo, have a look at the website CNN.com/international.

Well, the latest world news headlines are just ahead as you'd expect at the bottom of the hour. Plus, a former defense secretary Robert Gates has spilled the beans on President Obama's handling of the war in Afghanistan. It's been controversial. We're going to share with you his pretty frank views just ahead.

Also, (inaudible) a beauty queen and soap opera star after her brutal murder. How her death is highlighting the sky-high levels of violence in Venezuela.

Plus, it's the moment filmmakers and film lovers alike have been waiting for. I'm going to tell you which films are in the running for this year's BAFTA awards. That up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: A very good evening. If you're just joining us, this is CNN, CONNECT THE WORLD, I'm Becky Anderson. The top stories for you this hour.

FIFA says it has not made a decision on whether to move the Qatar 2022 World Cup schedule to winter, despite comments from its secretary general. Jerome Valcke told French radio the event likely will be moved from its traditional summer schedule due to heat concerns.

CNN's Ivan Watson is reporting heavy fighting near the border between Turkey and Syria. He and his crew witnessed huge fireballs rising from a Syrian border town. It's been the scene of intense clashes between Syrian rebels and hard-line fighters linked to al Qaeda.

A British parliamentary delegation is visiting Iran for the first time in five years led by former foreign secretary Jack Straw. The group is meeting senior Iranian officials. Relations between the two sides have improved. The Iranian president Hassan Rouhani took office in August.

And investigators are trying to find out why a US Air Force helicopter crashed near England's Norfolk coast. The chopper was on a training mission last night when it went down in a nature preserve. Now, all four US Air Force personnel onboard were killed. Officials say they won't be able to recover the bodies until Thursday.

A new book is causing shockwaves in Washington and beyond before it even hits store shelves. The memoir of former defense secretary Robert Gates claims President Barack Obama lost faith in his own policies on Afghanistan. Gates says Mr. Obama's main focus was simply, and I quote, "getting out." Jim Sciutto with the details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF US SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In his new book titled "Duty: Memories of a Secretary at War," the former defense secretary delivers an unfiltered, sometimes scathing critique of the White House.

On Afghanistan, "The New York Times" and "Washington Post" report Gates that writes that by early 2010, he had concluded the president, quote, "doesn't believe in his own strategy and doesn't consider the war to be his. For him, it's all about getting out."

The papers report that Gates, who served under both presidents Bush and Obama, grew concerned about the president changing course, and that the president was, quote, "skeptical, if not outright convinced it would fail." Though Gates also says he, quote, "never doubted Obama's support for the troops, only his support for their mission."

The book is not set for release until January 14th. Gates is especially hard on Obama's advisors, the papers report, calling Vice President Joe Biden, quote, "a man of integrity," but arguing, quote, "he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and nation security issue over the past four decades."

At times, Gates is more flattering of Obama, praising him for making decisions, quote, "opposed by his political advisors or that would be unpopular with his fellow Democrats."

(EXPLOSION)

SCIUTTO: That's something Gates hinted applied to the president's war-making decisions to CNN's John King in 2012.

ROBERT GATES, FORMER US DEFENSE SECRETARY: I think the reality is that there is an acknowledgment on people's part and around the world that this president is willing to use military force when our needs require it.

SCIUTTO: And he calls the president's decision to launch the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, despite Gates' own doubts, quote, "one of the most courageous decisions I had ever witnessed in the White House."

On his former colleague, Hillary Clinton, Gates makes a potentially damaging charge to a 2016 presidential run, saying, quote, "Hillary told the president that her opposition to the 2007 surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing Obama in the Iowa primary."

SCIUTTO (on camera): The White House has now responded to some of the comments in the book, a spokesperson for the National Security Council saying, quote, "The president welcomes differences of view among his national security team and wishes Secretary Gates well."

However, the White House does push back hard on the strong criticism of Vice President Biden saying, "The president relies on his good council every day."

Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, the White House was quick to jump to the president's defense, his press secretary, Jay Carney, acknowledging that discussions over Afghanistan were often heated. But he insisted Mr. Obama has always stood by his Afghan strategy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president believes thoroughly in the mission. He knows it's difficult, but he believes that our men and women in uniform, as well as those civilians in Afghanistan and others who are working on this issue have admirably and heroically fulfilled that mission. And they do so today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Oh, to have been a fly on the wall amidst these discussions. Let me get you one. Let's talk about this, now, with someone well-acquainted with the inner workings of the White House. PJ Crowley is a former spokesman for the US State Department. He's now a fellow at the George Washington University Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communications. A very long title, sir --

(LAUGHTER)

PJ CROWLEY, FORMER SPOKESPERSON, US STATE DEPARTMENT: Indeed.

ANDERSON: -- but we thank you very much, indeed, for joining us. You were there. Walk me through -- when you hear and read these comments from Gates, how do you assess them? Is he reflecting what happened, what was being said, what was being discussed at the time?

CROWLEY: Well, Becky, I think the one caveat we should all say, as you mentioned in the opening, is that we haven't seen this book come out yet. My copy will be delivered next Tuesday. So, we don't really know what's the context within, which --

ANDERSON: All right.

CROWLEY: -- these comments have been made --

(CROSSTALK)

ANDERSON: But they're controversial and explosive, right?

CROWLEY: -- Secretary Gates is -- yes. Oh, I mean, Secretary Gates is a historian. Obviously, he's a great student of national security affairs. And this will be the -- one of the first drafts of the history of the Obama administration.

ANDERSON: You were in behind closed doors listening to discussions back then. So, the president was, and I quote, "skeptical if not outright convinced it would fail," that being the Afghanistan mission. Gates never doubted Obama's support for the troops, only his support for their mission. Do you remember that being Obama's stance?

CROWLEY: Well, let me make two points. The first is that the -- to the point about whether he believed in his own strategy, the fact is the United States is executing the strategy that President Obama arrived at in 2009 and announced in a speech at West Point in December of that year.

We will add troops to Afghanistan for a period of time, there'll be a limit on the commitment of military forces to Afghanistan, and the war will end in 2014. And we're now in this year of transition in Afghanistan.

ANDERSON: Is --

CROWLEY: The president's committed to additional troops in Afghanistan, and that obviously remains a subject --

ANDERSON: All right.

CROWLEY: -- of some ongoing negotiation between the United States and Afghanistan.

ANDERSON: Yes. And you make very good points. My point is, the commander in chief, who didn't buy a mission, was not outright convinced it was -- was certainly skeptical if not outright convinced it would fail surely is a disturbing admission by Gates and one that isn't going to do --

CROWLEY: Not at all.

ANDERSON: -- Mr. Obama any good.

CROWLEY: Well, that's the second aspect, is when the administration did its assessment of where we were in Afghanistan in 2009, one of the conclusions was that while Afghanistan was important, actually in terms of the -- of combating terrorism, particularly combating al Qaeda, Pakistan was more important. Pakistan was strategic, where Afghanistan was already -- was important.

So there was a shift here away from the -- over time, away from the commitment of military resource in Afghanistan towards a more decisive political --

ANDERSON: All right.

CROWLEY: -- effort to try to -- to modify the threat, reduce the threat in the tribal areas and those that were controlled by Pakistan.

ANDERSON: PJ, let me just play for you and our viewers some sound that I got from a top military man and lawmaker and Britain, criticism over the handling of the war in Afghanistan, not just limited to the United States.

I spoke to Paddy Ashdown last night, a high-profile British lawmaker, as I said, and I former UN representative. With foreign troops set to pull out later this year, Ashdown says Afghanistan is a "textbook case of how to lose a war." Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PADDY ASHDOWN, FORMER UN HIGH REPRESENTATIVE: It was a war which had been perfectly possible to win. I don't blame our soldiers, they have acted magnificently. This is a political failure.

We have produced a government in Kabul that no longer -- that is famous mostly for its corruption, that no longer has control of its own territory. I think after we withdraw, the most likely outcome is that Afghanistan -- the south of Afghanistan becomes governed by the Taliban and -- at least for a bit. I don't think they'll last for long.

ANDERSON: Right.

ASHDOWN: The Pashtuns will throw them out. And the rest becomes a playground for the neighboring states to exercise influence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: This has been a political disaster, says Paddy Ashdown, a textbook example of how to lose a war. Your thoughts, PJ?

CROWLEY: Well, I think Paddy Ashdown knows very well from his experience in Bosnia that wars have both a military component and a more significant and decisive and consequential political element. We did see in Bosnia in the mid-90s a military intervention based on a political outcome, but the conflict, while the shooting has stopped, the wounds in Bosnia are unhealed.

I think there's a parallel to Afghanistan. We are fighting an effort there that increasingly was less about the global threat to the West of al Qaeda and more about a civil war between the Pashtun elements of Afghanistan and the Taliban.

ANDERSON: All right.

CROWLEY: That is ultimately something that has to be solved politically with contributions from the military, but this is -- I don't think this is a war that the outside powers can actually win in Afghanistan.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. PJ, always a pleasure to have you on the show. Thank you, sir. From Washington for you today.

Live from London, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. Coming up, crowds take to the streets of Caracas to express their sorrow and anger after a beauty queen's brutal murder. We take a closer look at the epidemic levels of violence in the country.

And find out if your favorite film from the past year has been nominated for this year's BAFTA awards. I'll tell you which films are in the running just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Fans in Venezuela and beyond are mourning the death of a beauty queen. Monica Spear, a former Miss Venezuela, was shot dead, along with her ex-husband. Crowds gathered in Caracas today to express their sadness and anger over the levels of violence in the country.

Now, it's believed they were the victims of an armed robbery while on holiday in the country. Spear's five-year-old daughter was shot in the leg. She did survive, though, the attack. Rafael Romo has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RAFAEL SPEAR, FATHER OF MONICA SPEAR: There's no words to describe our pain.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice-over): Rafael Spear says he learned the sad news about his daughter Monday night from a Venezuelan TV station he was watching in his home in Orlando, Florida.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Miss Guarico, Monica Spear!

ROMO: His daughter, 29-year-old Monica Spear, who was Miss Venezuela 2004, and her ex-husband, Thomas Henry Berry, had been shot and killed.

SPEAR: She will be remembered as one of the finest actresses in not only the Venezuelan area, but also all over the world.

ROMO: In addition to being crowned Miss Venezuela 2004, Spear was fourth in the Miss Universe pageant the following year. She later became an internationally-acclaimed actress, appearing in soap operas produced not only in her native Venezuela, but also in Colombia and the United States.

Authorities say Spear, Berry, and their five-year-old daughter, Maya, were attacked by armed robbers who opened fire after their car broke down in rural Venezuela. Only the girl survived.

SPEAR: She's stable. She's at one of the Venezuelan hospitals in Caracas, and the doctors are taking good care of her. We -- our plan is to bring Maya, since she's now alone in this world, our plan is to bring her here and have her grow in the States.

ROMO: The family moved to Orlando, Florida 13 years ago, and Monica Spear attended Seminole Community College and later the University of Central Florida.

MARYTZA SANZ, FAMILY FRIEND: Every time you saw her, she was bringing light. I -- that is the way that I remember her. She was a person that always gave her light to everybody.

ROMO (on camera): She moved back to Venezuela to participate in the beauty pageant. Against the advice of friends and family who feared for her safety, Monica Spear spent as much time in Venezuela as she could. Her relatives say she had spent the holidays traveling around her native country because she wanted her daughter to know Venezuela and be proud of her heritage.

ROMO (voice-over): One of her last videos shows her riding a horse in the Venezuelan lowlands. There's also a picture where she shows her daughter the beautiful scenery at a lake.

JAVIER SPEAR, MONICA'S BROTHER: She went all over Venezuela. In fact, the last couple of weeks or the last week, she went to Los Llanos and -- I mean, she traveled along way around the country.

ROMO: The Venezuelan government has called an emergency security meeting, and President Nicolas Maduro expressed consternation for the beauty queen's violent death. Spear's father says Monica dreamed of moving to Hollywood and was also planning to act in a French movie.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, Venezuela's president -- that was Rafael Romo, of course. Venezuela's president is vowing to do more to put a stop to violence that is plaguing his country, but he is facing a very big challenge. The United Nations says that Venezuela is one of the world's most violent places. Let's take a look at the numbers for you.

According to the non-profit Venezuelan Violence Observatory, on average, one person is killed in the country every 21 minutes. There were 24,700 violent deaths in Venezuela last year. The non-profit says the murder rates stands at 80 deaths per 100,000, although government estimates are about half of that.

For more on the situation on the ground, I'm joined now by Carlos Chalbaud. He's a professor at the Catholic University in the capital, Caracas. And what is your experience of the violence in Caracas and beyond, sir?

CARLOS CHALBAUD, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS PROFESSOR, CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY, CARACAS: I have to say that, not only me, but every single Venezuelan at this time, we are survivors. We are not anymore citizens, since the Venezuelan government has failed its duty, its constitutional duty to protect the people of Venezuela against crime.

More importantly, it is important to understand that during the last 15 years, the Chavez administration and now the Maduro, has been using violence as an important -- as a crucial ingredient for the political speech to say, we are not the same anymore. Now, rich against poor people, and now this kind of violent political dialogue --

ANDERSON: So -- right.

CHALBAUD: -- violent in their political speech is paying off value for Venezuela.

ANDERSON: So, when you hear the president say that he vows to clean things up and to do something about this, you say what?

CHALBAUD: I don't believe that. I don't trust Mr. Maduro, I don't believe him. Actually, he just finished here in Caracas a two-hour speech saying about policies for security. But the reality around the street is for everybody to see.

We're talking about in the last 15 years, 200,000 people have been killed in Venezuela because of violent causes. That's an amazing number. When you compare to the number that you just mentioned, 20,000 people killed last year in compared to 9,000 in Iraq.

These people, the Chavistas, have had 15 years in power. How come they just realized that everybody is killing each other --

ANDERSON: Right.

CHALBAUD: -- here in Venezuela just yesterday?

ANDERSON: So, I guess it -- which begs the question, with a different party, you're obviously not a supporter of the president and his party, is the opposition, who have just lost a democratic election, are they in any position to make any sort of difference going forward, do you think?

How do you see the future? Because people who are watching this show tonight consider the potential for Venezuela, given its resources and stuff, we ofttimes think, if it weren't for the violence and the disruption, couldn't the country be in so much better shape? So, how do you see the future?

CHALBAUD: Not quite clear at this moment, and the reason why is because the government as a government has all the -- only responsibility to go forward -- right? -- and produce security for the country.

I'm not talking as a politician or the opposition people. I'm talking about as a citizen, as one who lives in Venezuela, who wants to walk safe on the streets. We are asking the government to fulfill its duty to protect citizens.

And more importantly -- and let me repeat this -- how come a government, how come a president can go forward and say that things are going to be better if they only appeal to violence every single day in the political speech toward opposition, toward the citizens?

More importantly, Venezuela has lost the capacity to have our judicial power independent from the executive power. Sometimes government saying, to rob someone, probably it's OK because you are poor. This kind of speech in terms of sociology, is not the right and the proper one for a society so fractured at this time.

ANDERSON: Sir, we do appreciate your words. We thank you very much, indeed, for joining us. The view there from Caracas.

Coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, they take you on a journey over seascapes, pre-Civil War America, and space. Up next, we'll take you for a look at the contenders for Best Film at this year's British BAFTAs.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Now, as the awards season approaches, movie buffs need to decide which films from the past year will go down in history. With reels of worthy films in the running for awards, film academies have their work cut out for them. Well, I took a look at the five contenders for the British Academy's top prize, Best Film.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON (voice-over): It's time to talk show business.

CHRISTIAN BALE AS IRVING ROSENFIELD, "AMERICAN HUSTLE": Can me and the man talk about business here?

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: The BAFTA nominations are out, and the "American Hustle" cast has good reason to laugh.

BALE AS ROSENFELD: Always take a favor.

ANDERSON: The David O. Russel-directed film is among the front- runners in this year's BAFTA awards, with ten nominations. So, too, is the harrowing biography, "12 Years a Slave."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Solomon Northup is an expert player on the violin.

CHIWETEL EJOFOR AS SOLOMON NORTHUP, "12 YEARS A SLAVE": I was born a free man, lived with my family in New York.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be good for your manor.

EJOFOR AS NORTHUP: Until the day I was deceived.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To Solomon.

EJOFOR AS NORTHUP: Kidnapped, sold into slavery.

STEVE COOGA AS MARTIN SIXSMITH, "PHILOMENA": No, I'm just -- I'm not hungry.

JUDI DENCH AS PHILOMENA, "PHILOMENA": What about simply --

ANDERSON: The BAFTA judges this year have shown particular favor for true stories. "Philomena," starring Judi Dench, is based on the story of a woman who was forced to give her son.

And "Captain Phillips is the realistic account of a hijacking by Somali pirates. It's picked up nine BAFTA nominations, including a nod for leading actor Tom Hanks.

BARKHAD ABDI AS MUSE, "CAPTAIN PHILLIPS": Where is your crew?

TOM HANKS AS CAPTAIN RICHARD PHILLIPS, "CAPTAIN PHILLIPS": I don't know!

(MEN SHOUTING)

HANKS AS PHILLIPS: I'm the captain!

(MEN SHOUTING)

MARK KERMODE, FILM CRITIS: When you've got a Best Film title fight between on the one hand "12 Years a Slave" and on the other hand "Captain Phillips," and "Philomena" is in there as well, yes, these are extraordinary stories. Personally, I think "12 Years a Slave" is something really, really exceptional.

ANDERSON: But it is actually a 3D science fiction film that picked up the most nominations. "Gravity," starring lead actress nominee Sandra Bullock, is in the running for 11 awards.

(SANDRA BULLOCK AS RYAN STONE, "GRAVITY," SCREAMING)

GEORGE CLOONEY AS MATT KOWALSKI, "GRAVITY": Explorer's been hit!

ED HARRIS AS MISSION CONTROL, "GRAVITY": Explorer, do you read?

(BULLOCK AS STONE SCREAMING)

ANDERSON: The film, even winning over critics of the technology.

KERMODE: I thought, you know what? I think actually that might be better in 3D than it is in 2D, and in the past, I've never been a fan of 3D. I think Alfonso Cuaron did something brilliant with it. And of course, British technicians are at the heart of that.

ANDERSON: And with the BAFTAs growing in prestige every year, the British boast it doesn't end there.

HELEN MCCRORY, ACTRESS: London does glamour like nobody else.

LUKE EVANS, ACTOR: Yes, it's full on

MCCRORY: Yes.

EVANS: Big night. I mean, it really is -- it's as glamorous as it gets.

KERMODE: I see even great Hollywood names so excited to win. It's like watching a fantastic horse race with the best horse or courses in the world.

ANDERSON: The American film industry may have something to say about that when it unveils its Oscar nominations next Thursday.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Mid Feb for the BAFTAs. I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching. Richard Quest and QUEST MEANS BUSINESS up next.

END