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Oscar Nominations Announced; Heat Forces Suspension of Play At Australian Open; UN Grills Vatican Over Child Sex Scandal; Fallujah Under Fire

Aired January 16, 2014 - 15:00   ET


JONATHAN MANN, HOST: Tonight on Connect the World, a harrowing story of survival...


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The gunmen caught him. Omar thought he was a dead man.


MANN: How one man paid a terrible price for working with American forces in Iraq.

Also ahead, authorities busted international cyber child abuse ring, but with millions of images circulating online, how can anyone protect the most vulnerable?

Also tonight, a Wolf of Wall Street rakes in the Oscar nominations, we check in with some real stock traders to see if the film's era of excess is still alive on the street.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World.

MANN: Thanks for joining us.

This week, CNN is back in Baghdad with Michael Holmes bringing us remarkable reporting about life there more than a decade after the U.S.-led invasion

In a moment, you're going to hear about one Iraqi man who feels abandoned despite the price he paid for helping the coalition. But you can't appreciate his story without understanding the rise of violence there and the mounting fear of all out civil war. At least 25 people were killed Thursday, including 14 men who were tortured and shot dead, their bodies dumped just north of Baghdad. This following the deadly day of violence this year. On Wednesday, a series of attacks that claimed 61 lives.

Violence has also continued in the western province of Anbar. In the city of Fallujah, two people were killed after twin mortar attacks on a girl's secondary school.

The violence is reminiscent of the fighting at the height of the Iraq war that nearly tore the country apart. CNN's Michael Holmes joins us now from Baghdad.

Michael, we keep hearing about the bloodshed and the numbers. It's a cliche but it's true. Behind every one of those numbers is a person, is a family, is flesh and blood. You ran into one of the statistics, a survivor. Tell us about his story.

HOLMES: Yeah, that's absolutely right, Jon. It's very easy for these incidents to be really a drip, drip or a laundry list of numbers, but there are faces behind all of those people who die and the ones who are wounded and maimed.

Now we're going to introduce you to someone now. Since the latest upsurge in violence, there have been thousands of people who have fled their homes in Anbar Province, mainly from, of course, those well known cities now of Ramadi and Fallujah.

Well, Omar Hameed is someone who got his family out, like a lot of people did. But his story goes back much further, back to 2004 when he made the decision to help the Americans fight al Qaeda in his home city.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Back in 2004 as the insurgency in Iraq grew, al Qaeda fighters in Fallujah were striking American forces daily, IEDs a favorite weapon.

Omar Hameed was a local cop in Fallujah back then, but he hated what the extremists were doing to his city and his people so he decided to help the Americans. Even now, he does not regret what he did.

OMAR HAMEED, FRM. IRAQI POLICEMAN (through translator): Yes, of course, fighting against al Qaeda is right, because they are killing civilians, soldiers, police, innocent people and those who work with the U.S. Marines.

HOLMES: Omar shows us photographs with his American colleagues and letters of commendation from several U.S. officers praising his intelligence work, describing how he saved Iraqi and American lives.

The insurgents were less pleased with his work, but they were patient and got their revenge in 2009.

HAMEED (through translator): I left my home in the morning to get some shopping. And when I was driving, suddenly it blew up. I lost my legs and got major damage in my wrist.

HOLMES: In the years that followed, Omar steered clear of Fallujah, returning every month or so in secret to see his family for a day or two.

It worked until those al Qaeda-linked fighters came back in numbers and locals started to flee.

On January 4, when the militants were back in Fallujah, Omar risked a trip to the city to get his family out. The gunmen caught him. Omar thought he was a dead man.

HAMEED (through translator): They told me you are Omar, you are working with the American troops and Iraqi police. They tied my hands to my back and took me to (inaudible) controlled.

HOLMES: Omar says the militants were pleased with the results of the bombing that maimed him. It wasn't until his tribal leaders had made some calls that they eventually let him go, saying life with his injuries was a fitting punishment for his work with the Americans.

Today, still fearful, Omar and his family move from house to house, well away from Fallujah. He has his application in for U.S. asylum, because of his work with the Americans and the clear risk to his life. As with many other Iraqis, though, the paperwork has stalled. he's heard nothing in a year.

HAMEED (through translator): No future. There's no future for my children. My children cannot go to their schools. I cannot work in Fallujah. And also I cannot work in Baghdad, because of the militia.


HOLMES: Omar, of course, John has a difficult life as you see there these days, but you know what so do thousands of others who fled, like he did. Aid workers say many who have left their homes because of the fighting are now facing what they are calling considerable hardships, some of them facing food shortages and the basics like blankets to stay warm at night.

They are trying to get aid to a lot of those people, but because of the fighting around Fallujah and elsewhere in Anbar, it's proving difficult to get it to a lot of them, Jon.

MANN: Michael Holmes back in Baghdad for us once again. Thanks very much.

Omar Hameed's story continues online in one of the articles that Michael has written for us since his return to Baghdad. Get Michael's take on where Iraq stands now more than a decade after the U.S.-led invasion and what the people there have to say. It's at

Staying in Iraq, an American website has published photographs purporting to show U.S. Marines burning the bodies of Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah. The Marine Corps is trying to verify if the photos are real.

Brian Todd has more on this. Maybe inevitably his report will contain images you might find disturbing.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The deadliest fighting Iraq has seen in years. In recent days, al Qaeda-backed militants have been battling Iraqi security forces for control of Fallujah and Ramadi. ??

This is the territory the U.S. Marines fought and died to capture during the height of the Iraq war. Now U.S. military officials tell CNN they're investigating these photos taken in 2004. The Web site TMZ published the photos and turned them over to the Pentagon last week. TMZ was told they were taken in Fallujah. ??

The photos appear to show U.S. Marines burning the dead bodies of Iraqi insurgents. In one photo, a Marine is pouring liquid on a body, in another, the same body in flames, and this picture of a Marine kneeling next to a skull. There are many more. ??Analyst Jonathan Rue served with the Marines in Iraq.

JONATHAN RUE, ANALYST: This looks really bad, but we don't know exactly what was happening and we don't know what the circumstances were. ??

TODD: U.S. military officials can't tell us what unit these men were in. They're trying to determine their identities. Rue says the 2004 fighting in Fallujah was some of the worst urban combat the Marines had seen since Vietnam. ??

RUE: They literally had to clear the entire city house to house. Some houses would be empty, some houses would have booby traps, and some houses had three, four, five, 10 insurgents inside ready, waiting to fight to the death. ??

TODD: Why examine this case now? ??

EUGENE FIDELL, FORMER PRESIDENT, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MILITARY JUSTICE: There's certainly a value in our society condemning this kind of conduct and give the world, including the Iraqi people, an explanation for what we're doing. ??

TODD: Analysts say it's possible the bodies could have been burned for hygienic purposes, but it's a crime in the military to burn human remains or to possess or distribute personal photos of them. Still, prosecuting these men will be difficult. ??

FIDELL: If they're not still on active duty, then you have really serious issues as to which court, if any, they can be prosecuted in.


MANN: If the photos prove to be real, it won't be the first time that Marines come under fire for their conduct. Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates spoke to our Piers Morgan about the scandal.


ROBERT GATES, FRM. U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Well there have been some rare instances of US forces US troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan behaving in ways that are not sanctions by the United States and are contrary to military regulation and uniform and coat of military justice. So I think that what the Pentagon has announced is exactly the right way to go which is to investigate. See if they can identify the individuals involved and the unit they're from and then the investigation forward from there.??


MANN: Bloodshed in the region is hardly limited to Iraq. Neighboring Syria is struggling with its own long running civil war and a massive refugee crisis. Later in the program, we'll bring you some amazing and haunting pictures from inside the homes of people who fled the violence in Aleppo. That's still ahead tonight on Connect the World.

Also ahead, Australia's sizzling heat wave forces organizers of a major tennis tournament to take a very unusual step.

And a world wide web of crime. Police busted global pedophile ring exposing the growing role of the Internet in sex abuse. All that and more when Connect the World continues.


MANN: Welcome back, you're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World. I'm Jonathan Mann. Thanks for joining us once again.

The Vatican is being grilled over the child sex abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church. For the first time ever, top Vatican officials appeared before a United Nations committee to respond to allegations the Holy See has protected pedophile priests. The committee wants to find out why some of abusive priests were transferred from church to church rather than reported to police. And the very public questioning has caught many analysts by surprise.


JOHN ALLEN, CNN VATICAN ANALYST: What's remarkable is the nature of the questions they're facing. I mean, it is fairly rare for senior Vatican official, two, in this case, to sit in the docket, so to speak, in full public view -- this hearing is being webcast around the world -- and in effect answer some fairly tough questions, it has to be said, about the church's record on the child sexual abuse scandals that have rocked it for at least the last decade.


MANN: Later in the program, we'll tell you about another harrowing story of child sexual abuse making headlines today. Investigators announced they busted an international pedophile ring. They say people paid money to watch live broadcasts online showing children from the Philippines being sexually abused. We'll have a look at what's behind the growing online sexual exploitation.

A Lebanese state news agency says a suicide bomber has killed three people in Hemel (ph) a Hezbollah stronghold in the northern Bekaa Valley. An al Qaeda affiliate has claimed responsibility.

Al Nusra Front in Lebanon posted a tweet that says the attack was in retaliation for Hezbollah's involvement in the Syrian civil war. This the same day that four Hezbollah members went on trial in absentia in The Hauge accused of assassinating former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Nick Paton Walsh picks up that part of the story from Beirut.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPONDENT: Jon, the trial that got underway today in The Netherlands in many ways costly and distant from what's happening now inside Lebanon, but to many Lebanese, a desperately needed moment where perhaps accountability, or certainly a legal process could come to bear on that high profile assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.

The prosecution beginning with its opening statement today using CCTV footage, cell phone records, video from the moment of the aftermath of the explosion to build a details case, sparing no moment of emotion, certainly, about how Rafik Hariri came to be killed by nearly three metric tons of explosives in a truck perhaps driven by a suicide bomber.

That case will continue in he months ahead. It points towards four members of Hezbollah. The case itself shown across most Lebanese TV stations apart from al Manaa (ph) run by Hezbollah themselves.

They've said nothing. And many suspect they'll continue that silence. But there are, of course, many here asking, too, this $300 million trial in which none of the suspects are in court and may never in fact face punishment even if they're found guilty during this trial is a game, fomenting sectarian tension here, dragging from the past back out into the light this high profile assassination that brought Lebanon, almost a decade ago so close to the brink of civil war.

Again, back then, few could have thought the trial itself would play out now in these renewed sectarian tensions. But many concerned the overspill in civil war seeing violence here almost weekly inside Lebanon. Quite what the impact of seeing the details of that assassination brought out in the international forum yet again will be on Lebanon's fragile state right now, Jon.


MANN: Nick Paton Walsh.

It's only the middle of January, but it's already been a bloody year in Syria. The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 1,000 people have ben killed, more than 1,000 since just January 1 in fighting between rebel groups alone. Various rebel battalions have teamed up to fight al Qaeda-linked militants across the north of the country.

The long awaited Geneva II peace conference for Syria is supposed to begin next week. But the fractured opposition still hasn't agreed on whether it should attend. The Syrian National Coalition is expected to vote on that tomorrow. A shot time ago, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged the group to participate.


JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The United States for these reasons urges a positive vote. We do so knowing that the Geneva peace conference is not the end, but rather the beginning. The launch of a process, a process that is the best opportunity for the opposition to achieve the goals of the Syrian people and the revolution.


MANN: Now this may have you shaking your head, U.S. officials are calling it the biggest cheating scandal ever involving the U.S. air force's nuclear command. 34 intercontinental missile launch officers at an airbase in Montana have been suspended. The Pentagon says 16 of them cheated on a proficiency exam last fall while the rest of them knew about it and failed to report the violence. All have been stripped of the certification to conduct nuclear operations.

Officials say the nuclear arsenal itself never compromised.

Searing temperatures in Melbourne have forced the Australian Open to resort to plan B. Organizers call it the extreme heat policy. And they do have the extreme heat. The suspended play Thursday after temperatures topped 30 degrees Celsius.

For more on that, let's turn to Lara Baldesarra. What happened? I mean, this -- it's been out there for days.

LARA BALESARRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It has been. The temperatures have been in the 40s incredibly for days now. But finally the temperatures topped 43 degrees Celsius, plus it was all about the humidity. The humidity levels got up high enough to allow for the also crucial heat stress level to reach that critical number, which needed to be 28 degrees. And that heat stress culmination of the humidity, the wind, a bunch of other weather factors. And basically all of that allowed for them to implement this extreme heat policy and play was suspended on the uncovered courts for four hours.

Now, it kind of has a little bit of fine print, this policy, because when it was implemented Maria Sharapova, for example, she was playing at one of the courts that can be covered. However, she had to keep on playing even though her court was uncovered. She was on the court for a total of 50 minutes even though the policy had been implemented because they had to wait for a break in the sets and they had to play while the roof was being closed, which can take around 20 minutes in tota.

MANN: So, that was today.

But as you mentioned, this is not the first day over 40 Celsius. Why not yesterday? Why not the day before?

BALDESARR: All about the humidity. It's all about that humidity. So players, they have been suffering. They've been having to deal with it out there. They've been having to literally wear ice vests on their bodies just to cool them down.

And you know you've seen the images of them all with the ice around them and rubbing it onto their legs and their arms just to stay cool, because of course you can cramp so severely.

Again, we saw another player today who is dealing with heat stroke, that being Jamie Murray. He needed two hours of medical attention afterwards.

MANN: Stunning and literally sickening for some of them. Lara Baldesarra, thanks very much.

Bernie Ecclestone has stepped down as director of Formula One's holding company after judges in Germany ruled he'll stand trial on bribery charges. Ecclestone is accused of making a corrupt payment during the sale of a controlling stake in Formula One back in 2006. He denies the charges. The case is set to go to trial in April. Despite the departure from the board, though, he will continue to run Formula One on a day-to-day basis.

Live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World. Coming up, the latest twist involving the French President's alleged affair. News from France coming up next.

And later in the program, pictures that show the more personal impact of the Syrian civil war. Stay with us.


MANN: Welcome back. You're watching Connect the World live from CNN Center. I'm Jonathan Mann. Glad you're with us.

We don't know much, but we know she's angry. The actress linked to French President Francois Hollande is suing Closer magazine for invasion of privacy. Last week, the magazine published pictures of Julie Gayet and Francois Hollande entering the same apartment building in Paris and suggested the pair were having an affair. Neither the French president nor the actress have admitted to anything.

Francois Hollande's official partner, Valerie Trierweiler is still in hospital, though, after admitted with exhaustion last Friday.

The president and his first lady are due in Washington next month. So the question is who will be at Monsieur Hollande's side when he visits the White House in February.

CNN's Jake Tapper spoke with a Washington Post contributor and a legendary hostess of Washington, D.C. parties Sally Quinn. And asked her how she would handle the delicate question of the first lady if she were social secretary at the White House right now.


SALLY QUINN, WASHINGTON POST: Well, I would stay so far away from that.

TAPPER: Just stay completely out of it?

QUINN: No, no, I'd say we welcome you, and we'll wait to see what -- I mean -- I mean, you wouldn't under...??

TAPPER: You wouldn't go so far as what they at the Mitterand funeral and say well we're going give you because you're the president of France, we'll give you a plus two. ??

QUINN: No, no. But the people who work in the social offices will be talking to each other at a certain level and saying, well, you know, what's the story here, and it will all be worked out.

TAPPER: It's not a crisis by any sort, but it is something of an amusement given the fact you have these state dinners to celebrate a relationship, and it's actually causing a little bit of awkwardness. ??

QUINN: Well, it's going to have to be a love affair between France and the United States.



MANN: In France, the private lives of politicians are considered just that, private. A recent poll shows that 77 percent of French people believe Mr. Hollande's love life is purely a private matter.

One of those who supports that stance on privacy is an opposition politician, former French Justice Minister Rachida Dati. She spoke to our Nina Dos Santos in London.


RACHIDA DATI, FRM. FRENCH JUSTICE MINISTER (through translator): First of all, I think it's very violent for the partner of Francois Hollande this way of humiliating people, throwing this woman to the lions, this woman and her family who haven't asked for any of this.

The family of Valerie Trierweiler is not the official partner of the president. So I think that this is all been very violent.

It's true to say the press today feels like it has free reign. You can sue -- I know I've lived through that. But even if you haven't exposed your private life to the press, it will do all it can to enter your private life.

But I also think that you have to be careful as a politician to not expose yourself too much. People don't expect you to put it all on show. They expect you to do your job.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In that case, is the president credible?

DATI (through translator): I found his answer at the press conference very good. It's his private life. If you consider that, what is published in the press weakens his presidential role, then the responsibility also has to be shared with policies that are all over the place and a press that has made a mess of things.


MANN: She knows something about the subject. The former cabinet member had a child while serving as a minister without having a husband. She refused to say publicly who the child's father was.

The latest world news headlines just ahead, plus an international crime ring for cyber child abuse stopped dead in its tracks.

Abandoned in a hurry: houses that used to be homes -- we'll show you some touching photographs from Syira.

And Hollywood's great hold their breath today as the nominations for this year's Oscars were announced. We'll tell you who got the nod coming up in the program.


MANN: This is CONNECT THE WORLD, I'm Jonathan Mann with the top stories this hour. Vatican officials have appeared before a United Nations committee in Geneva to respond to questions about the sexual abuse of children by clergy, the first time every the Vatican has discussed the issue so publicly. The officials were grilled over the church's protection of allegedly abusive priests.

In Iraq, at least 25 more people were killed following the deadliest day of violence this year. This include 14 men who were tortured and killed, their bodies found dumped just north of Baghdad. The sustained violence has fueled fears of all-out sectarian war.

Scorching temperatures in Melbourne forced a change of plans at the Australian Open, tournament officials calling it the Extreme Heat policy. They suspended action on outdoor courts, though play continued on courts that are covered.

And the nominations are in for the Oscars of 2014. At the top of the pack are "American Hustle" and "Gravity" with ten nominations a piece, closely followed by "12 Years a Slave" with nine nominations. The ceremony takes place in Beverley Hills on March 2nd.

Now, child exploitation crossing continents. Investigators in the UK, the US, and Australia have arrested members of an international pedophile ring. Officials say people were paying to watch the sexual abuse of Filipino children live online. Rosie Tomkins has details.


ROSIE TOMKINS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The first two faces to emerge in a string of arrests, clamping down on the international sexual abuse of children online.

Timothy Ford and Thomas Owen have been convicted and imprisoned here in the UK for paying to watch via webcam the live-streaming of children as young as six years old, a crime made all the easier by the internet, possible from the privacy and safety of one's home.

These arrests are a result of Operation Endeavour, a UK-led internationally-coordinated effort designed to break a global pedophile ring operating out of the Philippines.

STEPHANIE MCCOURT, OPERATIONS MANAGER, UK NATIONAL CRIME AGENCY: Never before has there been a clearer link through straight from the developed world into the developing world so that people who've got a sexual interest in children can actually reach those people that are in the most vulnerable and poverty-stricken positions and exploit that in horrendous ways.

TOMKINS: Today saw the announcement by the UK National Crime Agency of a total of 29 arrests. Of those, 17 were customers here in the UK. A further 11 were arrested in the Philippines. These were those running the service, facilitating the abuse.

Meanwhile, 15 children between the ages of 6 and 15 were confirmed to have been rescued in the Philippines. Perhaps most shocking in all of this is that some of those arrested for facilitating are family members of the children involved.

MCCOURT: For this situation of poverty that they're in, it starts out with the desperation of these people that they are in such an environment where, in moral terms, it's OK for them to put a child in front of a webcam for sexual abuse.

TOMKINS: Today's revelations include police evidence that some of the customers were in contact with each other, sharing their experiences. One particularly disturbing conversation between the two British men even shows them planning a joint visit to the Philippines.

TEXT: I know a whole family of them. ;)

How do you fancy coming along as my --

I would love to.

What ages do you like?

I love all boys, but especially 6-12.

MCCOURT: These people need to realize that what they're doing leaves a trail for law enforcement to follow. For those offenders who are sitting at home tonight who think that they can go online and target these children, they can believe that they will be found.

TOMKINS (on camera): The sexual abuse of children is, of course, nothing new. What today's revelations really bring to light is the growing role of the internet in this very disturbing brand of crime, not only when it comes to the opportunities presented to those wanting to take part, but also the growing challenges faced by the authorities in their efforts to clamp down.

Rosie Tomkins, CNN, London.


MANN: International cyber sex abuse had grown all too common, and as we just heard, many times the perpetrators are members of the girls' families. CNN's Freedom Project brought the issue to the forefront in the documentary "The Fighters." We want to show you an excerpt of it again, but warn you first, the nature of the story is bound to be disturbing to some viewers.


MANN (voice-over): Over the past 20 years, the group Visayan Forum says it's rescued more than 15,000 children from human traffickers, including young girls victimized in online sex rings.

CECILIA FLORES-OEBANDA, VISAYAN FORUM FOUNDATION: As of now, there's a new phenomenon of trafficking for cyber sex that we observed for almost three years already.

MANN: Cecilia Flores-Oebanda protects the girls from further harm. The work of Oebanda and world champion boxer-turned-congressman Manny Pacquiao is the subject of the CNN documentary "The Fighters."

UNIDENTIFIED NARRATOR: The girls fill their days playing, talking, learning skills, all the while living behind locked gates and long fences, because it's too dangerous to expose them to the streets in which they were born. It's like a jail, where only the innocent are locked away.

MANN: During filming, three girls living at the permanent shelter, Center of Hope, spoke to Oebanda about the abuse they suffered.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL (through translator: At the internet cafe, they tell me take my clothes off and then they make me dance. I was kind of embarrassed because I'm not used to being naked like that.

OEBANDA (through translator): Where did they ask you to dance?

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL (through translator): In front of the camera. I also take my clothes off and I dance, and then we're told to spread our legs. Then the neighbor comes over. He gets naked, and we're told to touch his privates. The American men, they choose which one of us they want, which one will do it.

MANN: For about $30, an American man is able to have the girls do anything he wants while a man behind the camera makes sure the girls comply.

OEBANDA: She begged you to stop. Said that you need to stop, that you stop exploiting them. You can stop victimizing girls like them. Maybe next week -- again, we were able to rescue the same girls in the same situation, trafficked for sex pornography. This is unacceptable.

UNIDENTIFIED NARRATOR: Despite originally being open and friendly with our crew, it became apparent the trauma the children faced wouldn't be forgotten.

OEBANDA: The trauma is really too deep, that until now, they wake up in the middle of the night screaming and crying because they are so afraid that the trafficker will come again.

Sometimes, we don't really understand why one of the kids just sometimes suddenly gets sick, and she'll always vomit. And our psychologist said that's because she remembers what this guys on the internet asked her to do.

MANN: But luckily, US Homeland Security investigators tracked down this man, Jeffrey Herschell, living in western Pennsylvania. Agents arrested him at his home. There, they found dozens of pictures of young children.

And in May of last year, a judge sentenced him to 12 years in prison. Children's rights advocates say these types of cyber sex crimes are very difficult for authorities to track down because of the sophisticated technology that's involved.

Even though some perpetrators are sent to prison, that brings little comfort to the pain and suffering these young girls are enduring every day.


MANN: The documentary is "The Fighters." Many experts say easy access to videos and images of sexually-abused children, such as live- streaming, is one of the main factors driving the rise of online child exploitation. And if you look at the numbers, it's clear there's a lot of material around, compared to even just a few years ago.

Take the UK, for example. According to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center, in the 90s, the estimated number of indecent images of children in the whole country stood at a mere 7,000. By 1999, that number had reached over 40,000.

But today, the center estimates there are millions of images in circulation. In one case, police forces confiscated some 4 million images from just a single offender.

Well, for more on this, we're joined now from Belfast by Jim Gamble, the former head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center. Thanks so much for talking with us. We're talking today about a ring that was broken up after featuring, selling live webcasts of child sexual abuse, live child sexual abuse in real time. I had never heard of something so cruel and perverse. Have you?

JIM GAMBLE, SENIOR BRITISH POLICE OFFICER: There's nothing new in this. What we're talking about, if you move away from the technology, is motivated child sex abusers.

And whether they're in Birmingham, Alabama or Birmingham, UK, where they're motivated and have deviant sexual interest in children, they'll do everything that they can to stop themselves being caught, but to access kids.

So, a number of years ago, they'd have traveled to Cambodia or Laos or to the Philippines. Now, they can travel to those countries where children are vulnerable because of the deprivations they face and their parents are desperate to access them via webcam from what they perceive as the safety of their own home.

MANN: Well, I want to ask you about that. Because they do think that their home is a refuge for these crimes, and often the discovery of this material is in a home in a Western nation.

But from that one location in a Western nation, to follow the trail of that material back across the world to find out where it's being done, to finally find those responsible, prosecute them, and rescue the children, how much time and effort is involved in circling the globe to save these youngsters?

GAMBLE: Well, professional detectives will say always clear the ground beneath your feet. This case came to pass because Northamptonshire police, a small police force in the UK, did their job properly around offender management.

They visited the home of a guy they knew was on the sex offenders register. They checked his laptop. So, they were able to come in from that end and work through and see who he'd been talking to, what videos he had accessed, because he was copying them and sharing them.

So, they then took that to the Child Exploitation Online Protection Center in the UK, who coordinated the response globally. Now, that's great news. The bad news is, there's not enough of that happening, and it's not sustained.

You've got to turn the tables on these predators so that they fear going online. We need more undercover activity taking place from our international law enforcement partners.

MANN: I want to ask you about that, because the sense I have is, frankly, that the bad guys are winning, that a problem that was evidenced by a few thousand sick images a few years ago is now turning up millions of images. Are the authorities and the people that are trying to protect the children, are they losing?

GAMBLE: Well, I don't think they're losing. If you go back to 1998, the Dallas Police Department in Texas, working with US Postal Inspection Service, made the first big break in that they identified a site there ran by a Mr. and Mrs. Reedy, who are now, thankfully, in prison, where they were sharing child abuse images. And they were sharing them in their thousands, and people were in those days paying for them.

The difficulty is, you can now get these images for free because they're out there. And you don't find them on Google. They're found in nests of pedophiles, in peer-to-peer sites where they huddle together in secret and share these images of real children and real abuse.

So, law enforcement needs to accelerate its activity. It needs to increase its partnership. But most of all, in a world where law enforcement activity is prioritized on the basis of terrorism, of drugs, and organized criminal activity, we've got to bring the child to the top of that pile. We've got to see the right type of concerted effort so that similar to that which -- the war we fight on terrorism, we need to fight this war against child abuse.

And we can only do that if we are ruthless and sustained in our approach to ridding the world of these individuals who sit in the comfort of their dirty back rooms reaching out and harming children, and then sharing the abuse with other like-minded individuals.

MANN: So, bottom line, it's going to take a whole lot more people, a whole lot more attention.

GAMBLE: Bottom line, it must be child-centered. The child must be at the heart of it, and law enforcement needs to accelerate its program of work. We can't have these pots of success here and there because local police departments get their act together. Trans-national law enforcement needs to start putting the child at the very top of their priority list.

MANN: Jim Gamble, a real champion of the effort to track down and punish pedophiles on the internet. Thanks so much for talking with us.

GAMBLE: Thank you very much.

MANN: You can learn more about how CNN is joining the fight to end modern-day slavery by going to, the home page of our Freedom Project. You can watch our latest reporting on slavery in West African and a lot of material, some that will shock you, but some will encourage you, because people, brave people really are doing their best.

And you can tell us what you think can be done to tackle the problem of child sexual exploitation. The team at CONNECT THE WORLD wants to hear from you,, have your say. And tweet me @JonathanMannCNN. Your thoughts @JonathanMannCNN.

Live from CNN Center, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. A picture tells a thousand words. How one Italian photographer captured the daily tragedy of Syria's civil war in pictures and empty homes.

And later, the latest on the awards season as the nominations come in for the Academy Awards 2014.


MANN: Welcome back, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Earlier in the program, we reported on the efforts to convene Syrian peace talks to take place next week in Switzerland. There's been a lot of diplomatic maneuvering around that event.

But beyond the closed-door chats and far from the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland is a three-year civil war that scarred a country forever. Italian photographer Matteo Rovella went to the Syrian city of Aleppo last summer, a city in places totally abandoned. He went inside the houses, the ghost houses, from which families have fled for their lives.


MATTEO ROVELLA, ITALIAN PHOTOGRAPHER: I arrived in Syria on June 14, 2013. We went inside buildings. I had helmet, I had a flak jacket, but still dangerous.

It is strange, because most of the families had not the time to pack their things. You can see almost everything that usually you can find in a normal apartment. You see such scenes, and you imagine the moment when people had to escape from the rooms.

You feel that they had to escape or die, and to think about that maybe you will never come back.

This man was with the FSA, so he was the commander of FSA, Free Syrian Army. This in the picture was his house. Because you can do nothing. You can't rebuild because the war is still going on.

There is the one from the kitchen, it's very interesting to see how the kitchen was destroyed, how things are there. You really get the feeling of the war, you really get the feeling of the situation. It was a very touching experience for me.


MANN: You can see more of those remarkable pictures by going to our website, and find out how you can contribute your own stories, whatever they are, and see what others are sending us.

Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, Hollywood gets ready for the most celebrated awards in the movie industry as the nominations come in for this year's Oscars.

Big money, high risk, heavy partying. Does the portrayal of a Wall Street wolf really mirror reality? We'll have a look in a moment.


MANN: And the nominations are in for the most coveted awards in Hollywood, the Oscars. "American Hustle" and "Gravity" the frontrunners with ten Oscar nominations each. The movie about con artists, "American Hustle," followed up its Golden Globe successes with Academy Award nods including Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Adapted Screenplay.

"Gravity," a very different kind of film about two people stranded in space, is also up for Best Picture and Director, as well of a host of other awards from Cinematography to Music and Visual Effects.

Joining us now to talk about the nominations and some of the surprises, we're joined now from London by Joanna Crawley, the film and cinema editor of Thanks so much for being with us.


MANN: Any big surprises to you? Some of these were very predictable, but some of them were not. "Gravity" did way better than I expected, and "Nebraska?" "Nebraska" --


MANN: -- has anyone even seen that movie?


CRAWLEY: The thing about this year's nominations, actually, is that there aren't any big surprises. We've seen a lot of the similar titles that have been up for the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs.

"Nebraska" has kind of been a bit of a late-runner to the proceedings. The campaign starts in November time, and this one has kind of really picked up pace in the last couple of months.

In terms of any big surprises, though, there aren't any. "American Hustle," "12 Years a Slave," and "Gravity" are all big names that have been around for a while, and they're all up for the Best Picture, and I would say they're the three frontrunners for the main prize, the Best Picture.

MANN: Now, let's turn to some of the individual performances. Best Actress. And we start there because --


MANN: -- maybe it was a surprise. The famous cliche about Hollywood is it never makes any place for older actresses. Well these are all, all five of them, they're certified adults.

CRAWLEY: Yes. We've got June Squibb, who's actually in Supporting Actress, she's 77. But in the main Actress category, we've got, of course, Meryl Streep, who's actually set a record for the 18th nomination, that's the most nominations anybody's ever gained.

I don't think this year is going to be her year. I think it's going to probably belong to Amy Adams or Cate Blanchett. Cate Blanchett was in "Blue Jasmine," which is Woody Allen's latest, and she completely steals the film. She's amazing in it.

Amy Adams is up for her fifth nomination. She's never actually won before. She's up for "American Hustle," which has really swept the board this year. And I think of all the acting nominations, she could be the one that could take the prize. In terms of Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, I think she could be the one that kind of outshines them.

Then, of course, we've got Sandra Bullock for "Gravity." Again, the Oscars don't tend to favor sci-fi films. If you look in the past, "Star Wars," "ET," all of those kind of big films have never won anything. But again, Sandra Bullock has really kind of turned the whole sci-fi film on its head. Just -- she's in literally every scene, and she's just phenomenal in it.

And of course, then we've got Judi Dench, who represents the Brits, but again, like Meryl, I don't think this year is going to be her year. She famously won for "Shakespeare in Love," I think, in 1998 for eight minutes of screen time. And since then, she's racked up the nominations but again, I don't think "Philomena" is really going to see much in the actor awards.

MANN: Let me interrupt and ask you to jump to someone who's also racked up nominations and has been nominated again this year as the Best Actor, Leonardo DiCaprio. This is, what?


MANN: His fourth nomination? He is the biggest name in Hollywood. He's never won, but there are a whole lot of good performances this year.

CRAWLEY: I would say the Best Actor category is the most competitive this year. I would personally love Leonardo to win. I feel like he's been snubbed a lot in the past. He has, like you say, racked up -- this is his fourth nomination, but he's been overlooked for a lot of big performances in the past.

So, whether the Academy feels like this year could be his year to actually reward him, whether this year -- this performance in "Wolf of Wall Street" is his best or not, it's undecided. It's definitely his most comical performance, but he's up against --


MANN: And yet, a lot of people hated that movie. I'm jumping in, because "Wolf of Wall Street" ended up nominated for Best Picture, and I know a lot of people who said it was basically a high-finance porn film.

CRAWLEY: Well, it's got -- it's coming in for a lot of criticism for kind of seemingly glamorizing the lifestyles of Jordan Belfort, the real- life stockbroker, and his colleagues. But if you take it at face value, it's kind of a really fun take on this glamorous 80s lifestyle. It's Martin Scorsese's most fun film he's ever done. You can tell that he's having so much fun behind the camera with it--


MANN: So, we have just a moment. Do you think it's going to win?

CRAWLEY: -- and same with Leonardo.

MANN: Do you think it's going to win among the --

CRAWLEY: I don't think it's going to win Best Picture. I think Leonardo has got a very good chance of Best Actor. I think it's going to be out-shined by "12 Years a Slave" and the kind of the more serious films for Best Picture, though.

MANN: Joanna Crawley of Entertainmentwise. Thanks so much for talking with us.

CRAWLEY: Thank you.

MANN: Well, we have been talking about it, everyone's talking about it, Scorsese's epic "The Wolf of Wall Street," up for five awards, based, as she alluded to, on the true story of a corrupt stockbroker in New York in the 80s. Maggie Lake's been talking to traders about the movie, finding out if the culture on the Street has changed any since then.


LEONARDO DICAPRIO AS JORDAN BELFORT, "WOLF OF WALL STREET": This is the greatest company in the world!

MAGGIE LAKE, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It has sex, drugs, rock and roll, and money. Lots and lots of money. "The Wolf of Wall Street" takes place in the go-go 90s, when dollars flowed like champagne and life was a lot less PC.

Despite Leonardo DiCaprio's big win at the Golden Globes, critics say this three-hour exercise in excess glamorizes the worst of Wall Street, and longtime traders insist it's highly exaggerated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over the top. Totally over the top.

TED WEISBERG, SEAPORT SECURITIES: It's a world that we -- certainly I have never lived in, and it's a world that most of my peers have never lived in.

LAKE: The film is loosely based on the story of stockbroker Jordan Belfort, who spent nearly two years in prison for swindling investors out of some $200 million. In a 2008 interview, Belfort, who has yet to repay many of his victims, said he was caught up in the get-rich-quick culture of the times.

JORDAN BELFORT, FORMER STOCKBROKER: The thousand-dollar suits and the gold watches and the drinking at lunch and the cocaine at the end of the day and all this. It was almost like adult Disneyland for dysfunctional people.

DICAPRIO AS BELFORT: Technically, I didn't rob anybody.

LAKE: But wolves like Belfort are howling no longer.

LAKE (on camera): There's no doubt about it, millions of dollars still flow through Wall Street, but the era of conspicuous consumption is over. Here at the marina where they filmed scenes from "Wolf of Wall Street," it's rare that all these yacht slips are filled. And these days, bankers are much more likely to be pinching their pennies than throwing their dollars away.

LAKE (voice-over): Today, instead of three-martini lunches, traders belly up to the bar at the trading floor's very own Starbucks.

LAKE (on camera): So, this is the drink of choice now.

BEN WILLIS, ALBERT FRIED AND CO.: I remember -- yes. I remember down here when the straws that were in people's pockets were loaded with things other than coffee.

ALAN VALDES, DME SECURITIES, LLC: There are still drugs around, but now the drugs are vitamins and probably Viagra.


VALDES: There's still a lot of Coke around, but it's either diet, free, or caffeine-free.

LAKE (voice-over): Make no mistake: cash is still king on Wall Street, and these are still hard-charging, no-nonsense traders. But lean times have taught many of them that it's not just about making a quick buck.

WEISBERG: And there were bad times, there were good times, but on balance, they were great times. Not great from a monetary point of view, but great because what a wonderful community to have been exposed to and to work in.

LAKE: They may not be the wolves of Wall Street. Some of today's traders are just happy to be bulls and bears.


LAKE: Maggie Lake, CNN, New York.


MANN: Dramas, adventures, science fiction -- a whole lot of remarkable movies this year, and all through awards season, you can keep up-to-date with how each of those movies is doing by heading to our special movie award tracker. We've seen the Golden Globes. The Oscars are coming. Just head to, see how your favorite flick is doing.

I'm Jonathan Mann, you've been watching CONNECT THE WORLD. This is CNN. Don't go away.