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Crisis in Ukraine; Flight 370: Critical Omission?; Pacers Playoffs Hopes In Trouble; Ranchers Racial Comments Spark Controversy; Hijacking Scare In The Air

Aired April 25, 2014 - 06:30   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: At a news conference in South Korea this morning, President Obama said the U.S. stands shoulder to shoulder with Seoul against threats to security on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea reportedly completed all the preliminary steps necessary for a new underground weapons test. The president also offered condolences to victims' families in the ferry disaster.

The FDA approved alternative to the Pap smear, long-standing screening option for cervical answer. Cobas HPV test, a DNA-based tool is the first U.S. approved alternative to detect HPV in women age 25 or older. This decision means the HPV DNA test can be used as a stand alone option for cervical cancer screening ahead of the Pap test. In the past the tools were used alongside or follow up to a Pap smear.

So, a development there for you.

All right. Chris, that's a look at our headlines. Over to you.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Thanks, Mick.

This morning, Ukraine's interim prime minister is sounding the alarm, saying it looks like Russia wants to start World War III. So the question is, is help on the way?

Well, the president of the United States is saying he's set to speak with European leaders about a response to the aggression in Ukraine, but he's indicating any action will take time, that it's going to be slow before they can slow down the Russians. Russia seemingly dismissing all the talk is just that, empty words. Now performing military drills on its border with Ukraine.

What does it all mean? What's going to happen next?

We have Major General James "Spider" Marks here on the map to explain.

Is this going to trigger something worse?

Great to see you. Glad to hear you had a good Easter.


CUOMO: Look, how am I pitching it? I'm pitching it like talk is cheap. That's the response from Russia, because what are they doing right now? Where are they putting their troops and what is their message?

MARKS: Totally provocative, totally provocative. What we have formations that are appearing outside of Ukraine that are us ostensibly for military readiness purposes. That's why you get this out of garrison and you train them and you shake it out a little bit and you've got to do that.

But with conditions as they are right now, these are truly strategic efforts on their part to be provocative and really make it difficult for the leadership in Kiev and for the United States to do a proper read of what's taking place.

CUOMO: You use the phrase lines of communication. And that's what we were just showing on the map but that's why you wanted us to design it that way. What does it mean?

MARKS: Yes, let me walk you through that a little bit if I can. Forces in north of Ukraine and Russia in different locations.


MARKS: For years, for decades, Russia and previously Soviet forces would use those lines of you communications to access Sevastopol. So, it's a routine arrangement that they have with Ukrainians, routinely been using this to access Sevastopol.

So, now, they have dispatch forces, which they done and they have Russian forces ride now in east Ukraine.

CUOMO: All right. So, you say aberrant, that takes us to Donetsk, because they work in the inside, outside game here, right? They've got troops outside and they're arguably fomenting inside, right?

MARKS: Not arguably, they are.

CUOMO: They say it's not us, it's not us.

MARKS: Of course they do.

The intelligence clearly indicates these are Russian forces. These guys are not only supporters, pro-Russian insiders. There are thugs and instigators but they are Russians that are controlling this activity.

CUOMO: Let me ask you something, why haven't we heard Secretary of State John Kerry say what you just said. I want to hear this that it's not you anymore. We all know it's you. Admit that it's you. How come we're not hearing it?

MARKS: Our administration right now -- two things. At the very start of our administration said this does not have a military solution.

I don't know why an administration would take the largest element of U.S. power, military, and take it off the table. Whether we intend to use it or not, you never play your cards of priority like that. That's number one.

And number two, he just said yesterday not only will this be grave, Secretary Kerry, not only will this grave, but this will be expensive.

CUOMO: Expensive.

MARKS: Are you kidding me? Of course, it's expensive. But it's expensive for us, but it's deadly in the case of the instability that's taking place in Ukraine.

CUOMO: See, at first when I was going through it, you know, as just like regular person thinking about it, I was like, oh, you know, expensive sanctions. Obviously, Russia is not worried about it because they keep stepping up their game every time we say it's going to be expensive.

MARKS: We should read that. We should read that --

CUOMO: They're making a different calculation. So, they've got the inside outside game working. Then, even though they keep saying it's a military solution, now they're stepping on it.

MARKS: Right. Right now, they're moving forces from the 173rd Airborne Brigade which is located in Italy. They put forces here. It's really a little more than a company so it's a couple hundred great troops located here. That's symbolic.

CUOMO: They're in Poland.

MARKS: They're in Poland.

CUOMO: They're playing the opposite border and they're in a NATO country, also, making that point that we will defend.

MARKS: This is a message to NATO. This is not a message that's been read by Putin.

CUOMO: Oh, explain that.

MARKS: This re-enforces our alliance. This says, guys, to our NATO alliance partners guys, we're with you. We understand this. We're going to reach out. We're going to participate. We're going to exercise with you and work all those -- what I would call the command and control, necessary type of requirements.

This message is completely death to Putin. He's going, great, you t got a company in Poland. Have at it. That's irrelevant to me. I've got 40,000-plus forces on the border with Ukraine, I'm instigating inside Ukraine. I've got, I Putin, freedom of action, am controlling the activities here and I'm going to hold on to this until the election in May, so I can establish something that allows me to feel comfortable that Ukraine is not going to end up being West facing.

CUOMO: So, you're saying even though it sets up optically like this on the map this isn't two guys across from the ring staring at each other getting warmed up. MARKS: Not at all. Not at all.

CUOMO: And, of course, what's the big concern is that the threats of force may lead us to what we saw in Georgia in their early 2000s where he did go and there was bloodshed and nobody wants to see that.

MARKS: Absolutely. And this borders NATO. Georgia does not. This borders NATO. This is important.

CUOMO: Now, obviously change the stakes by international treaty.


CUOMO: Spider, thank you very much.

MARKS: Thank you, Chris. Appreciate it.

CUOMO: Kate?

BOLDUAN: All right, Chris. Thank you.

Coming up next on NEW DAY: Malaysia's prime minister admitting their radar picked up an unknown aircraft the day Flight 370 disappeared, but he says they didn't see the need to send up any planes to investigate? Why? Could that have prevented the plane's disappearance?

And also ahead, a rancher that Nevada rancher defending his racially charged comments about African-Americans. He's become quite a celebrity, and now he's got a lot to say. Are his political supporters going to support him? Many of them are backing away.

You won't believe what he said. He will be here to defend them.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

In an exclusive interview with CNN's Richard Quest, Malaysia's prime minister admitted an unidentified aircraft was spotted on their radar the day Flight 370 disappeared. But they did nothing to investigate. Why didn't they investigate?

Joining me now is Michael Kay, retired lieutenant colonel with the British military and former adviser with the U.K. Defense Ministry and CNN aviation analyst.

I thought I would get all?

MICHAEL KAY, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: It's a bit of a mouthful.

BOLDUAN: It is. Good morning, nonetheless.

This is your specialty. I wanted to talk through the flight path, what we know happened, we believe happened, and then what the prime minister said because in the interview Richard asked him, what happened around the time that this plane was seen on radar. And he said one thing that they knew for sure is that the aircraft that they detected on radar was not deemed to be hostile. And that is why they did not put planes in the air to investigate.

Let's show the flight path -- we already did. Let's show the flight path if we can one more time. At what point in this flight path though, Michael, do you think, suspicion should have been raises?

KAY: I think the key word you just raised there is suspicion. If it's not being hostile we know from all this information about changes in altitude, there's something suspicious about that. Let's rewind a little bit, shall we?


KAY: There are checks and balances that should have raised alarms and initiated emergency procedures that should have started something going long before aircraft would have been called to go and check the airplane out.

BOLDUAN: Walk me through that.

KAY: OK, do you remember the timeline? Let's walk through that -- 1:07, ACARS gives the last transmission; 1:19, there's that (INAUDIBLE) Kuala Lumpur looking forward to Ho Chi Minh. And 1:21 is the last transmission from the transponder.

The transponder is key in all of this. It was side-walking the numbers 2157. That drops off the radar screen. That is the first point when area radar controllers should have started raising alarm bells.

Why is that squawk gone? Why is that transponder no longer working?

BOLDUAN: There's one missed opportunity.

KAY: One missed opportunity. The next point is the radio call. Ho Chi Minh never received the radio call. So, when they don't receive a radio call and they're expecting MH370 to come into the airspace from the flight plan that's when they should have initiated overdue action.

So, then what happens, Kate, is you get -- the area is what's called a distress cell. And in this distress cell, you've got HF radio, high frequency radio. You've got phones that can get in touch with the aircraft.

BOLDUAN: Continue going through this, and I want to show this just zoomed in animation with the radar that would have been scanning the area at the time.

KAY: This point here, that's when all these communications start going on, the civilian radio radar should have gone, hang on a second, something is not going right here. Now, as they start tracking back across the Malaysian peninsula, there should have been conversations going on between time military radar tracking this, military civilian radar and Malaysia to say, hey, we've had something drop off and Malaysian military radar would have been looking at this and they said they've seen this.

BOLDUAN: Can I ask you a more basic question?

KAY: Of course.

BOLDUAN: When we see this and when we hear from the Malaysian prime minister, can you, from just radar, determine whether or not an aircraft is hostile or not?

KAY: You can't. Now, this wasn't wearing a squawk. It doesn't have that number. It's dropped off. It's not flight planned in the direction that it's going, IFR or VFR, OK? So, this is a suspicious airplane. Remember all the information we've got about a climb to 39,000 feet and then over on the western side of Malaysia we have this information about it dropping to 4,000 feet and then climbing again. That to me, if it's not hostile, it's very suspicious.

BOLDUAN: And the prime minister, even when Richard Quest pushed him to say, isn't that even more of a reason to put a plane up there to investigate, all of this put together, he said, still, planes were not put up to investigate because deemed to not be hostile.

If this had happened, if this change in flight path, if this lack of communication happened anywhere else in United States, over the U.K., how would this have been different?

KAY: I think that's a great point. What we can't do is we can't judge our standards against Malaysian standards. The reason for that Kate is that the U.S. and the West have been involved in a Cold War since World War II. So they've had Russian aircraft coming in and prodding at U.S. airspace around Alaska and U.K. airspace around the northern cape of Norway.

BOLDUAN: They're just not as sensitive to airspace as we are?

KAY: Yes, we are very sensitive. Then 9/11 happens and you get the conventional piece, which is the conventional threat, which has happened from the cold war. And now you've got this asymmetric threat of airlines potentially being used as missiles. That's the point here that the Malaysian prime minister and Richard Quest was trying to interrogate was, how did you not know that this aircraft was now being used for something sinister?

Was it heading to Jakarta? Was it heading to Kuala Lumpur? He's got fourth generation advanced fighter aircraft, he's got those, Malaysian prime minister could have launched those. He's also got F-18D, which we know about because the Americans have them, they're also very advanced aircraft, which should have been launched at this point in the absence of any information. You've got a 777, you've got a blip traveling across the continent. No one knows who it is. At that point alarms should have got the aircraft.

BOLDUAN: Michael, if jets had been put up or any aircraft had been put up to investigate this suspicious aircraft, could that, would you take the step to say, that would have changed the course of how all of this has played out? KAY: Absolutely. I mean, absolutely, Kate. The first thing is, is that we would have known where the aircraft is. You would have got a couple of aircraft up by the side and they would have been trying to talk to the airplane. The pilots would have got close enough to try and see if there was something odd because --

BOLDUAN: There would be more concrete evidence of something one way or the other.

KAY: Absolutely. The fact that they've been called up against an unidentified object that turns out to be a civilian airline, not going in the direction that it's supposed to be going in, that's not talking to them, there are a whole heap of --

BOLDUAN: From your point of expertise, you do not accept this reasoning. We've deemed it not hostile so we decided we do not need to put planes up to investigate.

KAY: I think it's a key piece of the puzzle and the big question is and I thought Richard's interview was brilliant. The big question is, how could the Malaysian authorities come to the conclusion that it was, quote/unquote, "deemed not hostile" without checking any of those initial alarm bells and emergency protocols in the first place? You can't just come to a conclusion looking in a blip on a radar and say, it's deemed not hostile.

You've got to try and get in touch with it. You've got the look at the hotel box and all the distress call and all information and all the communications in the air traffic control authorities and then you've got to speak to the military, the Thai military, the Malaysian military. All the events should have culminated in the quick reaction alert airplanes getting up and having a look at it. There could be two options here, Kate.


KAY: The first one could be they didn't actually see anything in the first place, and politically and geo politically, it looks better for the Malaysian authorities so say we did see something, but we deemed to do nothing about it. That you can argue is equally as poor.

BOLDUAN: The prime minister did say that they are now doing an internal investigation to figure out if standards of protocol needs to be changed and what could have gone wrong in terms of how they reacted in those initial hours that were so key. Michael, very important and very good perspective this morning -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Kate, coming up on NEW DAY, are you ready for a battle of right versus wrong? Nevada rancher, Cliven Bundy, was for many a righteous man standing up to big government, that is until those racist remarks that black people would be better off as slaves. He will be put to the test this morning right here on NEW DAY.

Plus, it's Vatican two, two people about to become saints at the same time. It's never happened before. So why now? Are they pulling a fast one? (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Boy, you've been watching the games? I had your Pacers. I thought they were probably the most complete team I was seeing in the east. Now I don't know if you've been watching, but the Indiana Pacers are in jeopardy of being eliminated after losing a game to the underdog Atlanta Hawks. Better bring in Joe Carter before Kate punches me in the face with this morning's "Bleacher Report."

BOLDUAN: I'm just thinking weird flailing motions with my arms.

JOE CARTER, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: What happened to your Pacers, Kate?

BOLDUAN: You know, if they --

CARTER: Unbelievable.

BOLDUAN: If they would do a better job of ringing me up and asking for my advice I could help them.

CARTER: Hibbert needs to wake up. Go to Indiana and wake him up. Indiana is the number one seed, the team that was supposed to challenge Miami for the right to go to the NBA finals, but they may never, I should say, see that opportunity if they don't wake up and play better basketball because the pacers last night did not look sharp. Again, look at Larry Bird, the team president. That body language says it all.

Keep in mind that Atlanta is the eighth seed in this playoff series. They finish the regular season six games under 500 yet they continue to prove their doubters wrong. They won the game last night by 13 points. The Pacers are on the ropes down two games to one.

The Memphis Grizzlies blew a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter, but still won the game in overtime. That story is trending this morning on Westbrook hit a huge shot with 26 seconds left. That tied the game and erased the Grizzlies huge lead. Unfortunately that momentum did not carry into the overtime session. Memphis went on to win the game by three. They lead in this very exciting series, 2-1.

And look at this. The greatest swimmer of all time is back from retirement, Michael Phelps, of course, won an Olympic record 18 gold medals, but he hasn't completed in 20 months. Since the 2012 London games. Phelps though was the fastest in the preliminary races and he came in second in the finals. He lost to his rival, Ryan Lochte by only 8/10 of a second.

He hasn't committed to the games in Rio yet. I have a feeling that after he swam so well yesterday, he intends to swim again today, he's going to get the itch and urge to do it again. Right now he's saying he's only doing it for fun.

BOLDUAN: Testing the waters, you could say?

CARTER: Great pun.

BOLDUAN: Sorry. I was thinking of it.

CUOMO: You were going Hillary on it.

BOLDUAN: I was. Thanks, Joe.

CARTER: You bet. Whatever.

BOLDUAN: This morning Republicans are backing away from Cliven Bundy. You know the name, the Nevada rancher turned conservative hero who faced off with the government over land rights. Well, Bundy is now under fire not for really the land rights fight, but for racial comments that he made questioning whether African-Americans were, in his words, better off as slaves. Politicians are now scrambling to distance themselves from Bundy's remarks, but some supporters standing by him. Here's CNN's Dan Simon to explain.


CLIVEN BUNDY, RANCHER: I'll tell you one more thing I know about the Negro, they have young children, put their young men in jail because they never learned how to pick cotton.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the rancher who just a few weeks ago was branded a conservative hero for standing up to the U.S. government. Now he's garnering all the attention for his racist rants.

BUNDY: Were they better off as slaves picking cotton and having a family life and doing things or are they better off under government subsidy?

SIMON: Two weeks ago, Cliven Bundy went head to head with federal authorities over his cattle grazing on public land.

BUNDY: The federal government is here with an army stealing my cattle, is what it is.

SIMON: Bundy's anti-government crusade skyrocketed him to GOP stardom.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: The government may be thankful for cutting the lawn for free.

SIMON: Backed by Republican presidential hopefuls.

SENATOR RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: It is government over reach, government gone amok.

SIMON: Now supporters are running the other way. Senator Rand Paul tweeting, Cliven Bundy's remarks on race are offensive and I wholeheartedly disagree with him. Bundy appearing to backpedal on "CNN Tonight" with Bill Weir.

BUNDY: I didn't mean on slavery, but I meant to compare it with maybe a life on the farm or life back in the south where they had, you know, some chickens and gardens and they had something to do.

SIMON: So who still stands by Bundy's side?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would take a bullet for that man if need be.

SIMON: Jason Bullock is a former Army infantry man who a few weeks ago came to the remote Nevada desert to become Bundy's bodyguard.

(on camera): You're protecting this man and he is wondering whether African-Americans would be better off as slaves. How does that strike you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn't strike me any kind of way. The same old Mr. Bundy I met the first day of all this happenings.

SIMON: Aren't those offensive comments to you?


SIMON: Dan Simon, CNN, Bunkerville, Nevada.


BOLDUAN: All right, Dan, thank you very much. And you're going to hear from Cliven Bundy himself. He will be live on NEW DAY in the 8:00 hour. Is he changing his position or sticking by it? -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Kate, there are some big stories going on, suggestion Russia is trying to start World War III, a hijacking scare, and the prime minister of Malaysia speaking exclusively to us on Flight 370. Let's go.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Incident was caused by a disruptive passenger on board a Virgin Australian Boeing 737 flight.

NAJIB RAZAK, MALAYSIAN PRIME MINISTER: We will search, we will spend as much as we, can as much as we can afford, to find the missing plane.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you concretely want from the Malaysian government right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The truth, what they are hiding.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: What you've seen is the government in Kiev doing what it said it would do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tensions flaring in Ukraine as the region teeters on the brink of war.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Russia continues in this direction, it will not just be a grave mistake, it will be an expensive mistake.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It is Friday, April 25th, 7:00 now in the east. And breaking overnight, a pilot sent out a hijack alert on a Virgin Airlines flight from Australia to Indonesia. Let's get right to CNN's Erin McLaughlin live in Perth, Australia with more. Erin, what do we know?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, the incident was caused by a disruptive passenger on board a Virgin Australia Boeing 737 flight from Brisbane, Australia to Bali's main airport. Local media is reporting that the plane's emergency transponder had been turned on more than twice, triggering this hijacking scare, which of course, turned out not to be the case. Virgin Australia putting out a statement saying that at no point during the flight was the safety of the 137 passengers on board in question.

Now, by coincidence CNN producer was there at the airport. The time of the incident. She said that the plane was brought to a far runway, four to five control cars responded. We understand the passenger was brought into custody and was not armed. Some of the flights at the airport were delayed as a result of this incident, but as of now everybody back to normal -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, Erin, thank you very much for that update.

Now let's turn to the search for Flight 370. It is going to get bigger with the Bluefin-21, that underwater drone about to finish its underwater scan. Officials are saying that if they don't find anything there, which so far they have not, they're going to expand the search zone.

And in a TV exclusive Malaysia's prime minister sat down with our Richard Quest to talk about the plane's disappearance and everything that has happened since. Aviation analyst, Richard Quest is live with us in Kuala Lumpur.