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Company Says It May Have Found Flight 370 Wreckage; Commissioner Silver Called "American Hero"

Aired April 30, 2014 - 06:30   ET


THURL BAILEY, NBA RETIRED PLAYERS ASSOCIATION: He felt confident in his deliberation yesterday that it was going to happen. So I would have to believe that there's a strong sense right now of solidarity, if you will. Maybe I not 100 percent, but I think -- I'm confident that he has enough of the owners to be on his side.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Not to color his perspective. But Mark Cuban had expressed a little concern early on. But we don't want to set a precedent about forcing somebody to sell their property because we don't like them. True.

However, in doing some research, it's a basic contract. And in that contract that the owners have among themselves they do have the power to force them to sell if you do certain things. The question is, do you think there's a legitimate argument to be made by Sterling or others that this punishment doesn't fit his offense?

BAILEY: You know, first, I'd like to hear that argument. First, I'd like to hear from Don Sterling. We really haven't.

CUOMO: Important point.

BAILEY: Yes, we haven't heard. We haven't heard anything from him. He hasn't denied the accusations, obviously. But I'd like to hear that first.

But I think in anticipation of all this from everybody involved, I don't think so. I think when you think -- you look at this day and age, things that we will not tolerate, not just in sports but in everyday life.

CUOMO: We've seen worse, Thurl. It's been treated less harshly, does that matter?

BAILEY: Well, I think it matters because we can't continue to do that. I think when you look at historically Don Sterling's background, things that may have been passed over, things that may have needed more attention paid to, I think the buck stops here. I think that's what the message was.

CUOMO: Can you imagine anything that he could say that would make you change your feeling about what should be done with him? BAILEY: Not that -- what he could say to change my feeling about has already been deliberated but it could perhaps give us a better perspective about whether he has any remorse. I think there's some part of us that wants that, there's some part of us that wants him to step up and take responsibility.

CUOMO: It is interesting. The lifetime ban sounds like what it is. But it actually isn't. It can be removed. Lifetime ban in the NBA can be removed. Selling the team obviously would be permanent.

But it is an unprecedented situation we're living through, motivated the team to win last night. Obviously, this is bigger than basketball. I know that's why it matters to you. I'm happy to have the conversation with you.

BAILEY: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: Thanks for being with us.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up next on NEW DAY, there's a lot of skepticism about one company's claim that it may -- may -- have spotted Flight 370's wreckage thousands of miles from where searchers are looking now. We're going to talk with an expert about it. What are the chances it could be in the Bay of Bengal?


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

A private Australian exploration company is making a pretty stunning claim today in the search for Flight 370, saying that they've detected what they believe is wreckage of what could be from the aircraft of 370 in the Bay of Bengal. These images that you're seeing right here, these show a collection of what they say are metals that they believe typically make up a Boeing 777. They detected it in this area. They say could be the plane.

But with heavy skepticism from Australian officials, could this really be it? Let's test the theory.

Let's bring in CNN aviation specialist, former adviser to the U.K. Ministry of Defense, retired Lieutenant Colonel Michael Kay.


BOLDUAN: A lot to work through this morning, but let's see what we can do, right?

KAY: Sure.

BOLDUAN: All right. Let's look at, first off, where this Australian company, GeoResonance, where they believe, where they say they found these anomalies. They believe it's way up here in the Bay of Bengal. Let's show it in relation, Michael, to this northern and southern arcs, which -- here we go -- the northern and southern arcs, and then we'll see how far away from the current search area, way down here, that they believe this is.

It's so far off of where they -- the Inmarsat data has told us these handshakes put it on the arc. Do you think this is possible?

KAY: Well, look, there have been so many leads so far in the 55 days plus this investigation has occurred that there have been strengths and weaknesses with every one. We've had enough information on table not to take any off. We don't have any information to take any of the theories off the table. So, that's where we're at.

Now, if we look at the southern arc that we've just seen, what have we got? We've got Inmarsat analysis. Very powerful brains corroborated by the NTSB, corroborated by the AAIB from the U.K., the NTSB equivalent, and the ATSB, the Australian investigation organization equivalent and the pings.

BOLDUAN: And they put everything on this, right?

KAY: And the pings. So, we've got Inmarsat, and we've got pings, which has taken us to the southern location. The point is, Kate, nothing has come up yet. So, let's go to the north.


KAY: OK. What have we got in the north? Let's look at the strength. You mentioned this, Australian-based, mineral exploration company. It's been going since 2000. It's been going for 14 years. It uses spectral imaging technology that you can use from airborne photographs.

Now, what we know is the photographs that they had weren't taken by the company. They're a third party import.

BOLDUAN: Is that important to you?

KAY: I think it is. I think it's important. I also think it's important the fact that this is proprietary software they're not letting anyone take a look at. NTSB, AAIB --

BOLDUAN: So, we can't get a look at all of their calculations.

KAY: There's no way of unequivocally proving what they're saying apart from if you look back, according to their Web site 2000 and they've been looking for platinum, nickel, they look at the uranium or gas, and they've been proven in that area.

So, the point is, is that on March 5th there wasn't materials with the 777 they have soon and on March the 8th, there was. That's the interesting bit.

BOLDUAN: You're seeing right now this is another one of our animations that show the flight path as we know it from Kuala Lumpur and really all of the radar that it would need to cross you would assume, in order to have flight path that ended in such a different area.

KAY: Yes, I mean, these are the weaknesses we're talking about in the whole lead. Yes. I mean, for example, you've got India, you've got Bangladesh, you've got Myanmar, and you've got Thailand.

I'd like to go and approach these countries and say this area that GeoResonance is talking about is 118 miles off the coast. That is well within the bounds of primary radar and well within the bounds of air defense radar.

India, show me what you've got. Bangladesh, show me what traces you've got. Let's try and corroborate this in some way. At the moment, I would like to see that information.

The other thing, too, let's not forget about the 6 1/2 handshakes from the Inmarsat data. That tells us the aircraft was airborne for six to seven hours.

BOLDUAN: Right. I assume what you're saying is if it would land up here that wouldn't have been in the air some seven hours after last contact.

KAY: Exactly. If you draw a direct line, remember, we know the radar traces take the aircraft out to Banda Aceh, to the top of Indonesia, and then it goes north. That's probably around three hours (AUDIO GAP). What was the aircraft doing for the other 3 1/2 to four hours? It would have had to taken a very unusual track to eventually get to the resting place in the Bay of Bengal. So, that's very unusual as well.

BOLDUAN: One thing they're talking about now, kind of in theory because we haven't heard anyone say, yes, we're going to go search this. Sending a ship from maybe India, maybe somewhere else to go there and actually search this area. This may be the one really good thing about it possibly landing in the bay is that it is much more shallow than the search efforts currently in the southern arc. It's only about 3,000, 3,600 feet. That's a better search area, wouldn't you think?

KAY: Yes. I mean, it's 1,000 meters in depth. I think that problem is, is that Angus Houston has a number of assets that he has at his fingertips, you know, the Ocean Shield, the HMS Echo, HMS Tireless. He's got all the maritime surveillance aircraft. They're operating out of Australia.

I guess the question he's got to ask himself is if he takes something away from the current search in the South, is that going to affect all of the information that points us to the south and be detrimental and taking it north. Has he got enough to justify putting something over the area?

Now, here's the question for you. What if there is something down there but it's not MH370? What if this is a nice little way of proving GeoResonance's capability but the aircraft actually isn't MH370. I would love to know why were they looking in that area in the first place? Why the Bay of Bengal? Why not --

BOLDUAN: The director told me yesterday that they -- when they started their search this -- the northern arc had not yet been discounted and they were still, the search effort was still in this northern area.

But it does beg to question of why were you searching, why were you searching this area, and how did you really come up with all of this information? But --

KAY: I think there needs to be more transparency about the software, about what GeoResonance are about, NTSB, AAIB, and the ATSB needs -- you've got to remember, there were five countries underneath Malaysian and this investigation.

BOLDUAN: The problem that the Australians would have down here with all of this is if this proved to be correct this would throw out all of the smart minds and all of that data and all of that complex research they have been basing their entire search on so far.

KAY: There's a lot of investment that's gone into that theory, Inmarsat and the pings we cannot discount that.

BOLDUAN: A little bit of though, why not if we haven't found this plane yet in six weeks?

KAY: Agreed.

BOLDUAN: All right. Michael, thank you.

KAY: Good to see you.


CUOMO: All right. Kate, coming up on NEW DAY -- something is wrong. That was word from an Oklahoma execution chamber as a drug cocktail failed. So, what happened? And we're going to test the outrage, is killing only OK if it's done with kindness?

Plus, L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling banned for his racist statements. Is that the right call? Kevin Johnson, former NBA star and Sacramento mayor, joins us coming up.


CUOMO: Welcome back. To be sure, justice was swift and severe for Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. The NBA banned him for life, fined him $2.5 million, that was the max they could do for his racist rant. And commissioner then says he's going to try to force Sterling to sell the team.

There is no indication that Sterling is going to go quietly. The question is should he and is this the right move by the league? Joining us is Kevin Johnson, he's the mayor of Sacramento, of course, a former great from the NBA, and he's an adviser to the NBA Players Union in this situation. And Mr. Malik Rose, two-time NBA champ, game analyst for Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia, he covers the 76ers.

Gentlemen, thank you for joining us. I'm sure you're both pleased on some level today, although it's not a situation that overall should be should make us very happy. But Kevin Johnson, let's start with you. The commissioner did every thing he could. Why was that the right move?

KEVIN JOHNSON, MAYOR OF SACRAMENTO: We felt very strongly, Chris, that this was a defining moment. And we believe that moment was defined the way we felt it should be. You know, the players asked the commissioner to do an immediate investigation. He did so. We asked him to make sure that the players could weigh in, ultimately have a strong voice and not be passive participants. That happened. And thirdly, the players said they wanted the most severe sanctions that were allowable under the NBA guidelines, which ultimately would lead to the removal of that owner. And Commissioner Silver did a great job and he's an American hero today.

CUOMO: American hero, Malik Rose. Why is he an American hero? Why was this the line that need to be tested? Why is this the example that needed to be made?

MALIK ROSE, ANALYST, COMCAST SPORTSNET: I think just because he served justice. I mean, an injustice of racism to anybody, NBA player, NFL player, or the regular American citizen, is an injustice. And he quelled that injustice with, as Mayor Johnson said, swift, decisive judgment.

CUOMO: Now, let me stay with you for a second. The push back will be, but is this the worst that we've seen so that it deserves the worst? Or are we making an example of Sterling that exceeds the level of moral violation that he committed? What do you say to that?

ROSE: Moral violation, I don't really know how to answer that. But I would say this was a severe injustice. Racism cannot be tolerated anywhere -- inside of basketball, outside of basketball. And I believe the players believe Commissioner Silver acted accordingly, swiftly, and justly. We applaud him still today for his efforts.

CUOMO: Where I'm coming from, Kevin, is that we see so much ugliness in our culture and it winds up making you look at moral equivalence, right? I mean, because we've seen so much worse, people will say, well, was this bad enough to warrant it? What do you think the proper perspective is in this situation, Kevin?

JOHNSON: I think you're right. Zero tolerance. You know, this type of bigotry and racism, we have -- there's no place for it in the NBA. And when you think about -- when there's a hint of racism, like cancer, you have to cut it out. And I think what Commissioner Silver did yesterday is he removed the cancer and the NBA has a very clear bill of health at this point, a clean bill of health.

CUOMO: When you look at it, compared to the NFL, you know, to me it's interesting that sport is having to deal with this huge social issue. You know what I mean? You would think this would play out in ordinary government, not in a sports league. But it seems like a sports league is setting a standard. And when you look at what happened with that Miami Dolphin controversy, about what was being done from a white guy to a black guy and what was right, what was bullying, what was racial -- what do you think the difference was in terms of how this was handled?

JOHNSON: Well, I think from our standpoint sports has always advanced civil rights. If you think about Mr. Carlos and what happened in the 1968 Olympics, Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, sports always gives us an opportunity to transcend what goes on in everyday life. And I think an example here, it's bigger than basketball for all of us.

And my wife was traveling yesterday and she was in Houston at the airport. And when Adam Silver said what he said, the airport erupted. Almost this country exhaled and said, you know what, the NBA did the right thing. We can kind of breathe and we can get back to business because sports allows us that opportunity to have these hard conversations and make tough decisions.

CUOMO: While it is sport, Malik, sport is what brings us together. Everybody roots for their teams and ultimately for the spirit of the game. How much pressure are on these owners? What do you think the chances that they don't make the vote of 23 owners, 3/4 of the ownership, to force the sale? What do you think happens there?

ROSE: I would be really, really shocked if they didn't. Not only, you know, to vote 3/4 of the way, I mean, I think it's going to be unanimous. I mean, you look at it, if anybody, you know, votes in favor of Mr. Sterling keeping this team and even if it's I believe it's a business decision, the way I believe the public is going to see it is they are siding with racism. So I would be really, really surprised if it wasn't close to 100 percent if not 100 percent.

CUOMO: You start wondering about well, what will this mean? When this happened, it was something that everybody wanted to see acted upon because of what it means in the larger context. And, Kevin, what do you think it means in that larger context? What is the significance of this? Do you think it lives beyond this decision? Does it fade? Should we let it fade?

JOHNSON: I think because the commissioner acted so swiftly we can all get back to business in one respect, let the players focus on basketball games and winning. We're seeing some of the best playoffs take place in the history of the NBA. But it's a stark reminder of how far we have to go. And I think what took place yesterday, it doesn't matter how rich or powerful you are, if you're a bigot and this could happen to Mr. Sterling, it could also happen to you. And that it's a statement that was made unequivocally.

CUOMO: I wonder how do we deal with it going forward? How do we kind of make manifest or how do we keep this spirit of it and be productive with it? Because, Malik, when you hear like Barkley, Barkley is like, hey, after all, this is a black league. We're 80 percent black. But isn't the point that it doesn't matter whether it's all black? There's right and there's wrong. You know, and that this gets judged regardless of color. How do you keep that going? Can we? ROSE: Yes, we absolutely can. And I really believe the players in the NBA set kind of like the standards. You can fight injustice, be it racially or homophobia, anti-Semitism, anything like that, you can fight it if you stand together and speak in one voice. The players in the NBA did that, setting the precedent and setting the example for any and everybody else who comes up against any type of injustice. And that's one of the main reasons, me being a former player, I'm proud today because the NBA players for once took a lead and took a stand against something united. And you're seeing the result.

CUOMO: Yes, it's interesting, Malik, you've been making the point in interviews that they stepped up in a way that surprised you that maybe wouldn't have happened ten years ago.

Interesting question for you, Kevin Johnson, in terms of what it means in policing behavior going forward. If you had a situation like Kobe Bryant -- and not to paint him with this brush -- but what he said about the official. He used an ugly word when he talked to an official once, it was a homophobic slur. Do you think if that happened now, do you think the punishment would be harsher because there's a new standard in the league about what matters?

JOHNSON: I think there's a standard and high expectation that we players always want to be held to a high code of conduct. We have no -- no concern whatsoever. That's what we want as players.

But you have to have two-way accountability. And think about this. If Commissioner Silver didn't do the maximum sanctions, think about how his ability to discipline players would be if he didn't do the same to owners. And I felt by him coming out as strongly as he did, we got two-way accountability here. The owners need to be held accountable to the highest standard, we as players want to be held to the highest standard. That's what the NBA is about. We embrace that. Anybody who does anything detrimental or tarnishes this game, you have to make sure you have swift action and that's what Commissioner Silver did.

CUOMO: We'll see where it goes with the owners. We'll see what it means for the dialogue in general. But productive at this point. It will be interesting to see what happens next. Kevin Johnson, Malik Rose, thank you for coming to us early in the morning. Appreciate it.

So we have what's going on in the NBA. We also have controversy over this botched execution in Oklahoma. A possible new lead also in the search for Flight 370. And we have the latest on this round of deadly storms that just won't go away. A lot to talk about. Let's get to it.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After conferring with the warden, it was my decision at that time to stop the execution.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was able to lift his head and his shoulders from the gurney.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We found what we believe to be the wreckage of an aircraft.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could that be human remains?


ADAM SILVER, NBA COMMISSIONER: Effective immediately, I am banning Mr. Sterling for life.

UNIDENTIFIED MAEL: I think we're all in a better place because of this.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: There is evidence that Meredith Kercher was killed by more than one assailant and that she and Knox fought over money the night before she died.


BOLDUAN: Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, April 30, 7:00 in the East. Breaking overnight, a botched execution in Oklahoma making the state take another look at its procedures. A convicted killer left writhing on the gurney after the state used a new controversial drug combination. A corrections official says 38-year- old Clayton Lockett's vein exploded. He eventually died of what's believed to be a heart attack more than 40 minutes after he was injected. Chris?

CUOMO: OK, so now it's about why did this happen, what happened, what does it mean going forward. Let's bring in CNN senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

Professor, it's good to have you. Let's start with the obvious. What do we know because there are differing accounts from witnesses and then officials about what happened in the room. What's the best sense?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, this is a continuing controversy. This just happened last night. But what clearly did not happen is a straightforward execution where someone was rendered unconscious and then their heart stopped beating. Here, this was a 40-minute process where there was writhing, there was clearly not a procedure followed that worked as intended. The Oklahoma authorities announced that Mr. Lockett had died of a heart attack, having caused by all this -- what was going on, but he was not executed in the manner intended.

There were supposed to be two executions last night in Oklahoma. And as a result of this fiasco with Mr. Lockett, the second one didn't take place and so that has been rescheduled, but you can be sure there will be more court activity between now and then.

CUOMO: All right. So let's do some point, counterpoint here and get to the heart of the matter. One perspective on this is, for all the sensitivity we're hearing, so what? So what that he seemed to be in pain? The goal was to kill him. Isn't it just -- is it about killing kindly? Is that how we're supposed to do it?

TOOBIN: And along those lines, it is worth pointing out that Mr. Lockett was convicted of an absolutely horrendous homicide where a 19- year-old woman was shot and then apparently buried alive. So I mean, this is a completely horrendous crime.

However, the law in the United States is, under the Eighth Amendment which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, you can't torture someone when you're killing them. And what's happened in recent years is that the European companies that supply the lethal injection drugs have refused to participate in the death penalty anymore.

So American states that have the death penalty have been scrambling for drugs or some sort of protocol that works and they've been trying to keep it secret from defense attorneys. This process has led to chaos and disorder in how the death penalty is administered in the United States. And yesterday was the worst example of what's happened so far.

CUOMO: Well, obviously, you know, I'm cheating a little bit. I know the law. I know the lineage of cases here. But I think that we have to speak to what just the common push on each side of this is. Either you kill or you don't. There seems to be like a moral dilemma that goes on with this.