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Searching for Flight 370 Underwater; Crisis in Ukraine; Russia: Ukraine Heading For Civil War; Demonstrators Take Police Building

Aired April 14, 2014 - 06:30   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Jury selection begins today in New York for Abu Hamza Al-Masri the so-called hook-handed terrorist. He's accused of plotting to kidnap Americans in Yemen, trying to open a terrorist training camp in Oregon, and supporting al Qaeda. Al-Masri was extradited from the United Kingdom two years ago. He was spending time there for using his London mosque speeches to incite murder and racial hatred.

The royal couple continuing on their whirlwind tour, meeting with residents in Christchurch, New Zealand, where you'll recall a massive earthquake killed 182 people in 2011, causing extensive damage. Prince William and Duchess Catherine toured the city, meeting with some of the victims family members. Earlier, they played an impromptu game of cricket with a group of children.

A little bit of fun there for the royals in New Zealand, as well remembering a terrible in 2011.

Kate, over to you. Those are your headlines.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: As we mentioned, crews are looking for Flight 370 have deployed the underwater vehicle, they called the Bluefin 21. It's now searching for plane wreckage, in an area officials have classified as new to man.

So, what does this all mean and how are they going to do to it?

Joining me to discuss on the map is David Gallo, co-leader of the search for Air France Flight 447, and director at special projects at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

David, great to see you, as always.


BOLDUAN: So, let's talk about -- let's up the first animation of the Bluefin 21. This is a representation of what it would be -- what it's going to be doing under water. It takes a minimum of 24 hours to do each of its missions.

GALLO: That's right.

BOLDUAN: What exactly is it doing this time? It's obviously going faster than it will in real time --

GALLO: That's true in the animation. It's a little bit faster.

It's going to take a couple hours to get to the bottom. They don't want to use up any batteries. It's all about power.

BOLDUAN: So it's just sinking.

GALLO: Drifting down. Maybe a little bit of rotation with propellers. But when it gets to the bottom, it will sit there exactly, where am I, what direction am I facing, what am I supposed to do? And off it will go on its mission mapping the sea floor as it goes.

BOLDUAN: And describe what "mapping" means. The not a camera that's it's going to be used at least yet.

GALLO: Right.

BOLDUAN: It's going to be using side-scan sonar. Describe exactly what that data is going to be.

GALLO: You see that it's like a torpedo. So, from either side of that torpedo, we're going to have beams of sound going out. And then whatever that strikes on the sea floor will reflect to the vehicle. It will record those and actually paints a picture line by line over time. So, at the end of about 16 hours, it's going to have a whole strip of the sea floor that will be pasted back together until you have a pretty good view of what the sea floor is like.

BOLDUAN: So, then, when it comes back up. Angus Houston said it's going to take some four hours to then download that data before they can begin. Obviously, that means they need to analyze it before they put it back down there.

What kind of information are they going to get. What does it look like? Isn't it like a 3D map of some kind?

GALLO: It's going to be our first view of the sea floor here. After so long, we're finally going to see what the bottom looks like. They're going to see rocks and sediments, and their first shape of the topography.

It's going to take a long time. It's not just downloading the data. They're also charging the vehicle for the next mission. So, there's that, too. Then they spend some time analyzing, it, too, before he put it back its next mission.

BOLDUAN: They were saying the first mission is going to follow a 40 kilometer area. That's obviously very narrow. They're starting with their best guess, because the Bluefin moves so slowly, it moves at walking pace. Does that seem about accurate? And does that also shows what a huge task they've got them?

GALLO: That looks right. Yes, we're going 3 1/2 to 4 miles deeper. So it's quite significant. Again, they'll be trying to save power on that vehicle. So, nothing happens very quickly at the bottom of the sea. It's one of those examples.

The payoff should be spectacular, though, if the vehicle's working right, can handle the terrain, as I said week going to get our first view of the bottom of the ocean. Maybe they might see wreckage right off the bat. You never know.

BOLDUAN: Are you optimistic? Is there a chance? Or does that seem like a far off possibility?

GALLO: Well, I think history shows, especially with Air France 447, that if you have the last known position, that's critical somewhere around where the wreckage might be. So, they're going on the best guess, best calculation of last known position. So, it's our best hope.

BOLDUAN: So, let's say they go down and they see something that looks unusual, they're obviously not going to get that data until the Bluefin comes up and that information is downloaded. What do they do next? Do they swap it out for a camera? What do you think the next move is?

GALLO: They have analysts on the board the ship, they can look at the data. Because unlike picture, they're interpreting sound. And sometimes, it looks like what it's supposed to be, other times you got to pick out things that don't belong there, against in the background of the deep sea.


GALLO: And then if they see something that looks very promising, they'll swap out a camera and send it back down and say take a picture of that or those things can come back up.

BOLDUAN: This oil slick. I just want to get your take on it. They think they've seen an oil slick. They've taken a sample of it near the area. Does that seem promising to you? Do you think that's connected?

GALLO: There's a lot of oil slicks out there.


GALLO: Yes, I'm not so optimistic. But we'll see. There's always surprises.

BOLDUAN: How long do you think the Bluefin operation could go, David. The TPL operation I think went longer than what some may have expected. What are you expecting in this phase?

GALLO: I'm guessing -- well, there's no doubt we need to find the aircraft. And this is the starting point. And with Air France 447, we were there months, all together, about ten weeks, spread over two years.

So, this could be a long time because they'll start with this location and start working outwards. They really don't have the balance of the haystack. It's an infinite haystack in many ways. So, they'll be working out from the middle. So, it could make months and months.

BOLDUAN: So, we start here today, and we see where we go from there, 24-hour mission. Step-by-step.

David Gallo, always great to have your expertise. Thanks, David.

GALLO: Likewise, Kate.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Let's take a break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, more reports of pro-Russian protesters taking over government buildings in eastern Ukraine. Is Ukraine headed toward a war within? Or a war with Russia? Or both?

What the U.S. is most likely to do now from a former U.S. ambassador to NATO, coming up.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Ukraine has reached a flash point. This morning, hours after a deadline for protesters to release government buildings had come and gone, these same demonstrators have taken over another building in eastern Ukraine. Now, does the violence mean they're on the path to civil war or war with Russia?

Joining us now is Kurt Volker. He's the former U.S. ambassador to NATO. He's now the executive director of the McCain Institute and the senior adviser for the Atlantic Council.

Thank you very much for joining us.

Let's deal with the obvious prospects here. Do you see this situation as leading to civil war, or is this about Russia invading Ukraine?

KURT VOLKER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NATO: Very much the latter. So, this would not be happening if this were not a Russian-led operation to take over buildings to begin the process of seizing Ukrainian territory. Ukrainians are looking at how they're going to respond to this. They said they're going to have a large anti- terrorist operation.

They want to be careful to not get directly involved in the violent conflict with these armed groups because if they do, there's a great likelihood that Russia will move its own troops in under the guise of reestablishing security and protecting Russian citizens. It's very tricky for the Ukrainians, but this is not really a civil war. This is really about Russia fomenting this unrest.

CUOMO: Two follows. One, do we believe that these Russian demonstrators are actually Russian military or paramilitary, because they're if this weird garb and they don't identify themselves before they act? VOLKER: Right. There's no question, they're wearing bulletproof vests, they've got camouflage uniforms, the insignias, which would have been there, there are places for it, where it's been removed. This is very much like what we saw in Crimea and it appears to be very coordinated as well. So, this is happening in multiple in eastern Ukraine, all in the same way, all of the same way, highly organized, not just taking a building but setting up roadblocks as well. This is a professional racing.

CUOMO: Ukraine is threatening to have counter-terrorism. And is Ukraine capable of taking on these kinds of forces, let alone the Russian military?

VOLKER: Well, Ukraine is far weaker than the Russian military, that's for sure. It does have its armed forces, it does have police forces. It is going to try to use them in this case. It took some criticism in the case of Crimea for not really reacting and that was used as an excuse by some Western European governments what they shouldn't do anything to help Ukraine because Ukrainians weren't fighting back themselves.

So, even though Ukraine doesn't have a strong hand to play here, I think we will see reaction from Ukraine this time.

CUOMO: Now, it comes down to the U.S. One question before we get to the options, is not doing anything an option for the U.S., to stay out, it's none of your business argument?

VOLKER: Yes, it's clearly an option. I think it's a very risky, dangerous option. Because the way Putin is playing this and Russia is, he's probing to see what he can get away with. He took Crimea. No serious reaction from the West. Now, he's moving on to eastern Ukraine. If there's no serious reaction here, he'll move on to Transnistria and Moldova. He'll move on to South Ossetia and Georgia. We see a risk that maybe even he'll target Russian speaking communities in the Baltic states which are NATO allies which we're obligated to defend.

So at a certain point, we're going to run into this with Putin if we don't start dealing with it now.

CUOMO: All right. So, who is "we"? Because when you look at the U.S. side, you have them saying it's clearly to provide natural gas, Keystone pipeline. That's years away. So, that's not going to deal with this.

You have not them really supporting the president. So, there's no rallying cause here for who "we" is. So, who is "we" and what can we do about it?

VOLKER: All right. Let me give you three. One we is transatlantic demographic community which believes in democracy, security, human rights, all the things that make the world and the society that we live in the way it is.

This has been a tremendously successful community over the last 60 years, since the end of the Cold War. Look at what's happened with Poland, or the Baltic states or the Czech Republic as they have joined NATO, joined the European Union. We need to nurture and protect this community.

The second "we" is going to be the United States. We have an interest in seeing that security in Europe doesn't get blown up again. Twice in the last century, we ended up fighting tough wars. We got sucked into the Cold War with nuclear deterrents. We don't want to do that.

The final we that I would talk about is us as human beings. We see it happening here is humans, people, in eastern Ukraine seeing their country torn apart, being forcibly incorporated in a country where they may or may not want to belong there. We ought to have a moral reaction to this as well.

CUOMO: But you're not suggesting that, and no matter what the U.S. wants to do, it can't be military, right? All we can do it provide support to the Ukraine. You can't really foresee us going to war with Russia, right?

VOLKER: I don't think we need to go to war with Russia. I think what we need is to show some strength and pushing back. There are several things. I know the administration has already prepared a very tough list of sanctions that they would be potentially prepared to implement. I would argue now is the time.

They keep --

CUOMO: Right.

VOLKER: The line from the administration right now is if Russia persists. So, clearly --

CUOMO: But do we have the stomach for that when you speak about Western Europe? Because I have a lot of money if I'm in Western Europe invested in Russia. I get my fuel from Russia. So, I'm not really looking at these sanctions as just punishment on them; I'm looking at punishment on me.

VOLKER: No doubt there would be an effect on Europe, but let's be clear. Western Europe is economically far stronger than Russia and can weather this better. And the consequences of not acting is that those very same economic interests could be jeopardized anyway. So I think it's better to try to establish the right order.

CUOMO: And one good little piece of optimism in terms of economic sanctions is that there has been major divestiture out of Russia like $60 billion so far in March. That's equal to all of last year the money taken out. So maybe people are pulling back. Maybe they will feel the pain. Kurt Volker, thank you very much. I appreciate the perspective. I'm sure we'll have you back on about this.

VOLKER: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, Kate. KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up next on NEW DAY, more on the search for Flight 370, the Bluefin underwater submersible has just been deployed as an oil slick was spotted near the search area. Was it left by the missing plane? Our experts weigh in.

And a suspected white supremacist behind bars this morning. He is accused of killing three people outside Jewish centers in Kansas. A congressman from Kansas joins us to talk about his personal ties to the victims and also how it has impacted the entire community.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back. We're following that breaking news from the search zone in Australia. Today, for the first time, crews are sending in unmanned submersible. The Bluefin 21 into the Indian Ocean to search for Flight 370. It's been nearly a week since any possible signal from the plane's black box has been detected. So officials in charge of the search say it's now time to go underwater.

Meantime, officials are investigating that oil slick spotted not far from where the underwater signals have been heard. CNN's Michael Holmes is live in Perth, Australia, the heart of the search effort with the very latest. Good morning once again, Michael.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Kate. Yes, they waited until day 38, but they've given up any hope of getting any more pings from those data recorders. They'll have to work with what they've got. They do have those four pings they are pretty sure came from those recorders and they've triangulated it as much as they can, narrowed the search area as much as they can.

It's time to put down that submersible, the Bluefin 21, which is doing its job right now. It was meant to have gone down a couple of hours ago. It's going to go down 14,000 or so feet, move at walking pace. Cover about 15-1/2 square miles a day. Mapping the ocean floor, looking for any sign of wreckage down there.

At that pace, it could take six weeks to two months to cover the entire search area. Also that oil slick you mentioned there, they've got two liters of that bringing it back to Perth in Western Australia to analyze it to see if it could be linked to MH-370.

And also that search we've been reporting on in sea and air looking for any debris floating on the surface. It looks like they're going to wind that back in the next few days. They don't think they're going to find anything. Chris, back to you.

CUOMO: All right, Michael, so they say the process is moving forward, but does that mean necessarily that there's been progress? Let's bring in David Soucie, a CNN safety analyst and author of "Why Planes Crash" and also a former FAA inspector. And Mary Schiavo, CNN aviation analyst, former inspector general of the Department of Transportation.

David Soucie, when I heard, that they weren't going to listen for the pinger anymore, I said, that's not good. The battery must be dead, not a cause for optimism, you say hold on a second, why?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: Well, I think I was optimistic when they got that two-mile stretch of pinging because at that point, you know you're on to something. So this other time period that's gone in between, so we can say, we've checked everywhere else. We've looked everywhere. This is definitely the place to be. So in my mind, they've got confidence in what they have because they didn't find anything else. Does that make sense?

CUOMO: It does. It does. I'm thinking about it, Mary, because what's the pushback? The pushback is, well, isn't there a big difference knowing something isn't somewhere and knowing where it is? You know what I mean, I know it's not there, but I don't know where it is, necessarily.

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Right. And that's the difference between the search for the pings and the search for debris. The pings we think we know it is there. There's something there that's pinging and we believe that it's the plane. As opposed to the wreckage, where we found a lot of places where it isn't.

So I think the ping, clearly the best. You know, I don't want to be too much of a pessimist, but that's all they've got right now. The Bluefin will help them have more information about their only clue. But there's a lot of riding on those four pings.

CUOMO: And the one thing we know for sure, you can't be looking for quick answers. That's not the Bluefin works. It's a 24-hour cycle every time it goes down. Four hours down. Does its surveillance. Four hours backup. They have to download the data. It's going to take time. Two liters of fluid being found from this oil spill nearby. You say that's a big number, David?

SOUCIE: It is. You would think it would be more disbursed than that unless they have some way of gathering it from a large area. The fact that they were able to get two liters means that's very substantial oil and that wouldn't be indicative of a ship especially if it's a synthetic oil rather than a diesel oil.

CUOMO: OK, so we'll have to see what the analysis shows on that and then you have these new terms introduced, Mary. We have the Bluefin 21. We've heard that before. There is the Alvin and Remora. The Chinese have the "Sea Dragon." What are these names? What do they mean?

SCHIAVO: Well, these are different types of underwater search vehicles and I'm not going to say one's better than the other. For example, the "Sea Dragon" holds the record for the depths at which it can go down and search. The Alvin, the Remora and the Sea Dragon are capable of being manned. And so there are different vehicles for different parts of the search.

So if the Bluefin 21 finds the wreckage, then they're going to need these vehicles to further explore, to manipulate the wreckage, to have robotic arms to get the black boxes out. And to really do more with the wreckage that the Bluefin can do. The Bluefin can take pictures of it, but it can't move it around.

SOUCIE: But the Bluefin, remember, right now is just equipped with sonar. That's the first phase. Then they have to bring it back up. You mentioned 24 hours, if we get to the phase where we have some sonar information. They won't just get the data and send it right back down. They'll do some analysis first.

Because you could change the payload and change it back to photography payload, as opposed to sonar payload. There's no use doing it at the same time because there are different depths. Don't expect it to come out, swap out the data and put it back in the water. It takes some time to analyze it.

CUOMO: Sixteen hours, the thing doesn't move that fast, how much ground can it cover?

SOUCIE: Well, I've heard various things. It depends how fast it's going through the water. The sonar payload, it can do 18 square miles. What I've heard from Dave Gallo. I think that's about right for this that machine in sonar mode. Photography is say little different.

CUOMO: Also there's a huge variable in the bottom of the ocean and what they're dealing with, right, Mary? You have to be very careful. You can only control it so precisely. You can lose it in these operations, right?

SCHIAVO: Right or damage it. It looks tough. You don't want to go ramming it into the wreckage or rocks, you would damage it, but there's not just one Bluefin 21. There are others in the world, but you do have to be careful with it. You can tell it by the amount of distance you cover. It could go up to 40 square miles a day, but they've got it set on a speed that's literally half of that so they've got to be careful. And that will increase the sonar or the pictures.

CUOMO: There's only one? Why is there only one of these?


CUOMO: Are there plenty around, if you break this one, are there plenty of other ones that you can get easily?

SCHIAVO: There are other ones throughout, yes. How easily, I don't know, but they have other ones. And they said if they asked for more, they would get them. They just want the one right now.

SOUCIE: I understand they're committed on some other operations right now that they don't want to terminate. I don't know what those are. There are a few. These are very expensive machines in the millions.

CUOMO: Really? Whose is this anyway?

SOUCIE: I think it's the Navy's?

CUOMO: Navy's.

SCHIAVO: It's the Navy's.

CUOMO: All right, Mary Schiavo, thank you very much. David Soucie. I appreciate the perspective -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, we have breaking news out of Ukraine this morning, a fire breaking out at a Ukrainian police station overtaken by pro-Russian separatists. The deadline for them to lay down their arms and leave has long passed. Now, it's a waiting game, it appears, to see if Ukraine's acting president will make the next move as fears with civil war are growing.

And the U.S. is warning Russia to stay out. We have Barbara Starr at the Pentagon for us, but let's begin this hour with senior international correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh in Eastern Ukraine. Nick, what's the very latest?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, the deadline has passed in which the interim president said put down your weapons, quit the administration in the police buildings you're holding pro-Russian protesters or we'll send in the Ukrainian Army and anti-terror operation.

The key thing, no sign of an increased security presence more if anywhere in Donetsk, certainly not here in the center of Donetsk where the administration building has been occupied long by pro-Russian protesters. Instead, as you just said, we're seeing increased movements in many different cities.

You just mentioned, troubling pictures there. A live feed on the internet, showing police trying to flee from the scene. One of them actually trying to hide in an ambulance at one particular stage. That's the concern here. We should be seeing, according to the interim president, more police, more soldiers, perhaps around.

Instead we're seeing pro-Russian protesters violently on a march and holding out maybe the possibility of a referendum here on the future here. But not that response that people thought they would finally get from the Ukrainian government when they set in that vacuum that the Russian protesters are filling -- Chris.

CUOMO: Important, Nick. Stay safe over there. Nick Paton Walsh in Ukraine. What's going on is pretty obvious. What to do about it especially for the U.S. not as clear. Let's get their reaction from Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. Barbara, what are you hearing?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Fast moving developments, Chris. We are just getting word, let me give you an example, the Russian ruble now falling to its lowest level in three weeks. You're beginning to see the financial and economic impact of this political crisis.

For the Obama administration right now, the policy increase sanctions if the Russians do not pull back. That is what they're sticking with. You will not see the administration offer lethal weapons to the Ukrainian government. You will not see them offer more intelligence sharing. It's all centered around economic and financial sanctions. On Wednesday, NATO will be briefed on military options for this crisis. Don't expect to see military action. This will involve only increased troop presence in Eastern Europe. For those allies, Poland and the Baltics, some perhaps increased presence of U.S. troops.