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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Police, Protesters Confront Looters; Video Shows Brown's Body in Street; Rick Perry Indicted on Felony Charges; U.S. Warplanes Hit ISIS Near Dam
Aired August 16, 2014 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: All righty -- we are so grateful for yuour company, as always. I'm Christi Paul at CNN Headquarters in Atlanta.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell in Ferguson, Missouri. It is 7 o'clock on the East Coast, and 6 a.m. here in Ferguson.
This is NEW DAY SATURDAY.
PAUL: Victor's there because breaking overnight, of course, looters hit more stores there in Ferguson. In fact, we've got some video that we want to show you from just a few hours ago, right, Victor?
BLACKWELL: Yeah, a SWAT team in riot gear with the gas masks and armored trucks, they pointed their military-style weapons -- you'll see them here -- and marched slowly toward people who gathered in the rain outside a market and liquor store in Ferguson. They never really approached them, but they got pretty close.
PAUL: We also understand that looters hit three stores to the store where 18-year-old Michael Brown is suspected of stealing $50 worth of cigars. But just a sort time before he was gunned down which was a week ago this afternoon, by the way, that's what happened, that was by an officer with the Ferguson police department.
Victor, what is the KMOV reporting?
BLACKWELL: Yes, that about 200 protesters took to the streets early this morning, we're getting from KMOV. And they were met by those100 officers, police reportedly saying at least one shooting at a nearby intersection. That victim was rushed to a nearby hospital. And one officer was hurt when hit by a brick or large rock thrown. So, we're waiting for updates on both of those people.
PAUL: But I think what is interesting is that there were peaceful protesters who are continuing to demand answers about why Michael Brown was killed. And some of those peaceful protesters as I understand it, got in the way of the looters and said, no, you're not doing this anymore -- yes, Victor.
BLACKWELL: Yes, that was at the Ferguson market. The location of that alleged strong-arm robbery where police released those still photos and then video Michael Brown stealing some cigars, Cigarillos is the brand name, that he took minutes before he was shot and killed. The rain is picking up. There were people who were sitting behind me
across from the Ferguson police department. They've now gone inside. But what we saw overnight, was a confrontation between people who went into that Ferguson market. And local people who stood between them and the market and tried to keep them out.
But we understand from a producer who was there a few moments ago, Steve Kassebaum (ph), says there was actually a negotiation between the people guarding and protecting that store, and the people who wanted to go in. And at some point, the men who were just standing trying to guard it let them go in.
Now from what we understand, they have now dispersed. But there was some fear that this store could meet the fate that the QT met a few days ago with that fire. But that has not happened. Police were in the area for a period, but they've never approached, and actually the police protected that store.
We also know from our Shimon Prokupecz (ph) that some store owners are now taking matters into their own hands, standing in front of their store with weapons because police are not stopping these looters.
I want to bring in Ana Cabrera -- because you've been here for several nights now. And we saw what happened overnight, the Molotov cocktails. We saw the looting. We saw -- or at least heard a report of shooting.
How does last night compare to the previous nights?
ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, there have been so many twists and turns in just the last couple of days in the story, in protesting, in how police have been responding to the protesting. And some of the information and few bits and pieces of detail that police have released.
I think the very latest, what's concerning is seeing almost a lawlessness return to the streets of Ferguson in that these looters seem to be now continuing to, you know, in a sporadic way, go into stores at will. They're obviously breaking the law and doing so, and police have not taken action. And, of course, police were initially criticized for maybe an overreaction as somehow perceived, and seeing all kinds of people on Twitter and other social media criticizing law enforcement on the scene for not acting strong enough.
CABRERA: So I think those are questions we have to talk to and pose to the Missouri state authority as they're expected to hold a press conference at some point this morning, and answer some questions and give us some update on exactly what happened overnight.
BLACKWELL: We mentioned that sense of lawlessness. But we also have to mention there was some effort and we talked about it for self- policing, for the members of the community to protect their resources, to protect their community as well. But you know, you heard it, I've heard it, that many of the people
here say, OK, we know that there's been looting, we know about the shootings after Michael Brown's death. But let's talk about why everybody is here. Michael Brown being killed by this officer we now know as Darren Wilson.
And we now have something that, of course, we've seen -- we want to show it to you, it's what you probably have not seen up to this point, the cell phone video that drives home the fury that so many people here in Ferguson are feeling right now. It was taken a week ago, last Saturday afternoon. Michael Brown's body is still in the middle of the street after that 18 year old was shot by a police officer. It was there for hours, uncovered. And a crowd, you'll see them, gather around and they'll start to respond to police there.
We have to warn you that there's a chance that you'll find this video and the audio very disturbing. But we think it's important that you see it. We're not going to speak over it. We want you to hear it and understand what's happening here in the suburb of St. Louis. It's a little more than two minutes.
Watch and listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's (EXPLETIVE DELETED) up man. They say he had his hands up and everything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They trying to get at him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know, I wasn't out here. I just heard the gunshots.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard the gunshots from (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I knew something happened. It was too early in the day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is it? Did he stay right there?
UNIDENTIIFED MALE: His dad just tried to grab him, dad in that black t-shirt. Police talking to him. And that's his auntie on the phone in them (EXPLETIVE DELETED). They some lousy (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw the car.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's (EXPLETIVE DELETED) up man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's (EXPLETIVE DELETED) up dog. He gone, dog.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he gone, he gone, he gone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They say they stood over him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he shot some more when was on the ground. That's what say. Shot him some more while he was on the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police killed the dude. Police killed him, yes. Said he had his hands up and everything. They still shot him. He fell on the ground. They stood up and shot him some more. They've just got just him laying in the street dead as a (EXPLETIVE DELETED). They've just go him laying here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is (EXPLETIVE DELETED) unreal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) did it? Who the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) did it? Where is the ambulance? Where is the ambulance?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no ambulance, he's gone. Yes, he's gone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: And there his body lay for reportedly hours and hours, four or five hours, we're told.
I've got Ana Cabrera is still here with us.
Ana, you've heard for the last few days, I've heard, the level of disrespect that many in the community feel after seeing that young man's body there in the road so long. Pair that with the release of the surveillance pictures from the alleged strong-arm robbery, at the same time the officer weighs name was released yesterday. That's like salt in the wounds of many of the people here who feel like they're just trying to malign Michael Brown and protect this officer.
CABRERA: And these are deep wounds, old wounds that have festered in this community for years. I think that's one reason we're seeing so much anger, the culmination of many different pieces here that have become part of the story line, have become part of the investigation and ongoing details that we're still learning.
Of course, yesterday, people were really angry when the police chief came out, released the name of the officer, gave very little information about him, but then spent a lot of time on this alleged robbery that happened, in which Michael Brown was the suspect. Michael Brown's parents came out and said this is a character assassination of our son.
And again, the treatment of Michael Brown as a suspect, versus a victim as many perceive he is, especially when you look at the shooting. He was a victim. He was killed by police. And we don't know the answer as to why he was killed and whether that shooting was justified.
BLACKWELL: And even Captain Johnson with the state Missouri patrol said that releasing that information at this point with the name was not the right way to go and criticized the police chief's decision to release those two elements at the same time. CABRERA: I think it's important to note, though, you know, I want the
viewers understand how things work behind the scenes. Media, many media outlets had specifically put in public information requests for information, details, video, whatever was available on that robbery situation. Because there's been a lot of buzz in the days about some kind of robbery, people thought it was at the QuikTrip, which is ground zero of the protests.
CABRERA: And there were some talk that that may have been connected to the shooting in some way. And so, when media does that, police and law enforcement have a legal -- they have to respond.
BLACKWELL: Obligation to respond to that.
CABRERA: Obligation to respond if they can, if it's not part of the investigation. But they have to put that information out there at some point.
BLACKWELL: A question.
And we should also say that the media's also asked for pictures and the record of Darren Wilson, and we're still waiting for more information on the officer. They felt free to release all the information about that strong-arm robbery but still very little about the officer who killed Michael Brown.
Ana Cabrera, thank you very much.
You know, that video that you saw was sent to me from a viewer who reached out to me via Twitter. My handle is @VictorCNN. And if you have any question you want answered about Ferguson, and the situation unfolding here, or the tactics being used by both sides, send a tweet, use the #FergusonQs. And we'll get questions from the panelists throughout the day.
PAUL: Victor, thank you so much. Great job out there.
Let me ask you this question, as we switch gears here, did Texas governor and potential presidential candidate Rick Perry abuse his veto power? Prosecutors say yes. So, what does that mean on many levels?
Also, an enormous crowd turns out to hear Pope Francis at a very special mass. We'll tell you what he was speaking about.
PAUL: Well, Texas Governor Rick Perry has been indicted on two felony charges. The potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate accused of abusing his veto power by trying to pressure a district attorney to resign. According to the special prosecutor here, he threatened to veto funding for a state wide public integrity unit run by Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, unless she stepped down.
Perry is fighting back on this. Let's talk about this with investigative reporter for "The American-Statesman", Tony Plohetski.
Tony, thank you for being with us.
First of all, walk us through. What exactly are the charges about? Help us understand this better.
TONY PLOHETSKI, THE AMERICAN STATESMAN: Yes. So, it's basically what you've said. The district attorney of Travis County, Rosemary Lehmberg, was arrested on a DWI charge in April 2013. Two months later, as the state legislature was finishing their session and finishing the budget, Governor Rick Perry sent word to Rosemary Lehmberg, basically saying, resign from your office or I'm going to veto an item in the state budget that would have given $7.2 million to her office.
PAUL: So, is there any way that he could have handled differently if he had wanted her to deal with the DUI arrest?
PLOHETSKI: Well, you know, perhaps he could have sent word to her that he wanted her to resign. And he did do that. The problem here, according to the prosecutors and others closely following this case, is the fact that he linked those two things together. He linked a threat and then he linked a veto. So, in essence, according to the prosecution, he used that money, that $7.2 million for her office, to try to coerce her into resigning.
PAUL: OK. Gotcha.
Now, we understand, Perry's lawyer basically called the indictment bogus. Does he have anything to back that up?
PLOHETSKI: No, I mean, his position is that Governor Rick Perry has constitutional authority, constitutional veto authority as the state's governor. And so, according to Perry's lawyer, Governor Perry's lawyer, he was merely exercising that constitutional authority, that constitutional detail authority.
PAUL: So, these two felony charges. I mean, they carry with it some hefty repercussions as I understand it, yes?
PLOHETSKI: Potentially, up to 99 years in prison for the most serious charge, yes.
PAUL: So, what is the talk there? What is the murmur, in terms of Perry's, you know, when we look at the big picture, presidential dreams?
PLOHETSKI: Well, I think that depends on who you ask. There are certainly Republican strategists out there who believe this may ultimately not have much of an impact. You know, that Governor Perry will request a speedy trial. This will go to trial even within 90 days so he can resolve this issue and potentially get on with his presidential bid or potential presidential bid. That is, of course, assuming that he is acquitted of these charges.
PAUL: Right. What are the people of Texas saying about him as governor in all of this?
PLOHETSKI: Well, you know, Governor Rick Perry has had an unprecedented 14-year term as governor here. He, of course, has always enjoyed a lot of support within the state.
Particularly here in Travis County, though. That is not the case. This county is made up of a lot of Democrats. Of course, Republicans and Perry supporters are saying that it is that grand jury, largely, potentially made up of Democrats that indicted the governor.
So, of course, they're saying this was an unfair prosecution, and is an unfair indictment.
PAUL: All right. Tony Plohetski of "The American-Statesman" -- so good to have you with us this morning. Thank you.
PLOHETSKI: Good to see you.
So, U.S. fighter jets we know are taking aim at ISIS terror are targets in Iraq again. A battle for Iraq's biggest dam is under way right now, we understand. ISIS seized control of it. Now, U.S., Iraqi and Kurdish forces are trying to get it back.
Also, his nickname in the world of mixed martial arts is "War Machine." But this time, instead of in the ring, police say he brutally beat his ex-girlfriend in her own home.
PAUL: Twenty-one minutes past the hour right now.
We are going to head back live to Ferguson in just a bit. But Nick Valencia is following some stories for us this morning that we're going to talk about.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, let's get you caught up, Christi.
VALENCIA: Twenty-two minutes past the hour here.
Let's start number one, U.S.-led military operation under way right now to retake Iraq's largest hydroelectric dam from ISI. U.S. warplanes have struck ISIS targets near the Mosul dam. The dam is said to be still up and running. A Peshmerga's spokesman says Pehsmerga forces are not advancing to the dam but says they are coordinating with U.S. and Kurdish forces.
Number two, Ukraine says its artillery destroyed part of the military convoy that crossed the country from Russia. British media outlets report they witnessed this incursion, a separate Russian convoy that Moscow says has aid for civilians in eastern Ukraine, that means parked on the Russian side of the border waiting for Ukrainian inspectors to decide whether they should be allowed to enter.
Number three, two people have been arrested and charged in connection with the kidnapping of two Amish girls on Wednesday. The girls had been selling vegetables near their family farm when they disappeared. An Amber Alert was issued but officials announced Friday they have been found safe. The girls were able to provide important details that help police make an arrest.
Number three, a mixed martial arts fighter nicknamed "War Machine" is in jail after beating his ex-girlfriend. Jonathan Koppenhaver is being held without bond. Police say he beat adult film star Christie Mack in her Las Vegas home, leaving her with 18 broken bones and a lacerated liver. She posted pictures showing both eyes swollen shut and bruises all over her body. Koppenhaver says he's innocent.
And in Seoul, South Korea, Pope Francis has beatified 124 South Korean martyrs. He told a crowd estimated at 800,000 they should take pride in their religion. Pope told them their ancestors' willingness to die for their faith two centuries ago is a model for Asian missionaries today.
Those are the latest in your headlines. Let's send it back to you, Christie.
PAUL: All righty. Hey, Nick, thank you so much. So good to have you here.
Especially since Victor is not. Victor is in Ferguson, that small Missouri town at the center of the national outcry.
BLACKWELL: Hi, Christi.
You know, we heard moments ago from our producer Shimon Prokupecz (ph), that store owners with weapons are standing over their stores with weapons protecting their property. We're going to show you evidence of it in just a moment and hear more about the unrest overnight after the killing of Michael Brown here in Ferguson, Missouri.
Keep it here.
PAUL: Well, mortgage rates held steady this week. Here's your look.
PAUL: Twenty-eight minutes past the hour right now.
Welcome back. We're so grateful for your time this morning. I'm Christi Paul at CNN headquarters in Atlanta.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell in Ferguson, Missouri.
Here in Ferguson, this is now again a scene where we're seeing the Molotov cocktails and the riot gear that we saw earlier in the week. Overnight, looters targeted stores and restaurants, facing down police. But despite the police, it was protesters, protesters holding back other protesters from doing more damage.
We saw also overnight, that there were reports of one person who was shot. An officer injured with some -- a brick or a large rock that was thrown.
I think we now have those photographs of people who own the Ferguson market. We were told by a producer who was there that they're now standing there with weapons protecting their property. Guys, do we have that photograph to put up?
We have a photograph there of the employees, the workers, the owners of this Ferguson market, where Michael Brown was allegedly involved in a strong-arm robbery, standing there with high-powered rifles, also handguns. You see the store was looted. There you see them there, standing in front of the store with those weapons, because overnight, as the looting went on, the officers, the Missouri state highway patrol, they did not get between those looters and the store. There were other protesters, other members of the community who eventually stopped them.
However, at some point, those other protesters got out of the way, and the men and women who wanted to go in and steal from owners of the store at some point were allowed to do that. We also know that there's going to be a vigil here coming up later today, at about noon, at which we are going to see people again with "hands up, don't shoot" chant that we've heard several times.
I want you to meet a woman. Her name is Carolyn Jennings. She is not here specifically for Michael Brown. She's here because she sees what she calls a larger injustice toward African-American men.
Listen to her story. And we'll talk about it more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAROLYN JENNINGS, FERGUSON RESIDENT: I really feel that for a long time that black men are not being treated fairly. They've been shot in the streets. My grandfathers used to have dogs and white men used to come and shoot the dogs and say they were doing something to their pen or something. And I say that's the way they've been treated.
BLACKWELL: So, would it be fair to say that you're not here specifically for Mike Brown, but here for a larger purpose?
JENNINGS: I don't know mike brown, but I did get a feeling about Mike Brown and all the others. And for that reason, I felt like I needed to be here. If anything can be done to improve the situation, I want to help. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: And that sentiment is not rare. I meet a man who was protesting on behalf of his 4-year-old son, also a woman who was here with her husband. You know, the killing of Michael Brown shines a light on race relations on the community of Ferguson, Missouri, really across the country.
But here, two-thirds of the population is black. Yet, the mayor is white, so are five of the six city council members. The police chief is white. There are only three African-American members of this 53- person police force.
The question is, why is that important? Probably to protect confrontations betweens the one we've seen, between police and the community, but a brief calm after Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol was installed as the interim fix and met with protesters.
I want to bring Lieutenant Marlon Byrd with Ithaca Police Department, and Laura McNeal, Harvard Law professor and faculty at the University of Louisville.
Good to have both of you this morning.
And, Lieutenant Byrd, I want to start with you. First, with some gentlemen I spoke with yesterday, somewhere between the ages of maybe 17 to 25, they were warning people, do not be fooled by the installation of Ron Johnson -- Captain Ron Johnson, a black man to run law enforcement here.
What is the impact of that disparity between the numbers of African- Americans in the police department and a 67 percent black community? What's the impact there?
LT. MARLON BYRD, ITHACA POLICE DEPT.: Well, I mean, the impact is big, Victor. You know, most of the time, you know, police departments, you know, want to -- they should reflect the community that they're policing. And when you see residents seeing individuals who don't necessarily look like them, who don't necessarily are their best interests at heart and find themselves at odds, historically, with the individuals that are charged with policing them, it's very, very complicated.
And so, you know, to have that place be 67 percent black and only black police officers in that department is very troubling.
BLACKWELL: So, now, that the disparity has been highlighted, is there a way to change that? Can you legally say, all right, now, we need 25 more black officers?
BYRD: Well, yes, I mean, there's things that you can do. And ultimately there needs to be some outreach, sincere outreach by that police department and the city of Ferguson. At the same time, you know, the police department has to present a welcoming environment for those black officers when they come. You know, I can just speak from being a police officer for 23 years
and my agency, you know, I'm proximately maybe six or seven officers now that are of color. But the things that I've endured as a black police officer, in a predominantly white agency has been very, very detrimental, especially someone who is connected with the black community.
BLACKWELL: Professor McNeal, in addition to what is the primary concern here, the shooting and killing of Michael Brown. I especially on Wednesday night, there were many in this community who believed that their constitutional rights were infringed upon. The arrests were simply being in an area where curfew had not been established.
Do they have a credible case?
LAURA MCNEAL, UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE FACULTY: Very good question, which he actually do, in terms of their constitutional rights. If there's a city ordinance that's in place, that says residents have to be in by a certain time and they violate that ordinance, police are within their responsibilities to ensure that ordinance is enforced. And so, without knowing greater detail just based on the actual law in that area, it would be a violation of their rights if they're violating -- if there's a city ordinance in place that they're not adhering to.
But if there's not a city ordinance in place communicated to the community, then they have the freedom to go wherever they would like to within their communities.
BLACKWELL: Professor, you have interacted with the president on how to reduce violence. What was involved and how did that turn out?
MCNEAL: This training was very exciting, on my work with Dr. Jeff Bostic and Lisa Thurau for Strategies for Youth. And essentially what we focused on is how to stop police officers from using adult policing tactics to police teens. And essentially, what we taught them is developmental competence, understanding how the teen mind works, understanding that because of their particular developmental stage, that they might be more likely to respond slowly to police commands, additionally helping police recognize youth with mental illness, youth that have been exposed to trauma, such as the youth that saw Michael Brown shot in broad daylight.
Those are the types of things that impact how youth interact with police. So, essentially you want to de-escalate those types of interaction so they don't result in the violence that we saw with Michael Brown.
And just very quickly, we're able to reduce with this training the number of youth arrests in the Boston Area from 646 youth arrests to 74.
BLACKWELL: Lieutenant Byrd, last question to you, we're soliciting questions through twitter with the #FergusonQs. And one we received and I'm paraphrasing here. Maybe we can put up the question verbatim. But the question gets to why did the police department decide
yesterday to release those stills and eventually the video of the alleged strong-arm robbery, when they knew that there would -- there's this sensitivity, especially at this time. And there would be likely be some pushback, some response to what they saw? And it actually happened. Why would they do that?
BYRD: Well, I would tell you, Victor, that what you're starting to see right now is the defense that's going to be developed out of what happened after Mr. Michael Brown left that store. Ultimately, you know, they need to make that correlation that Michael Brown did appear to be aggressive and behaved aggressive. And so, unfortunately, for the community, that looks very bad. But they also need to understand that they can also focus on what happened after the police officer pulled them over. I think that's very important. That's more important even than the robbery, even though they're going to make the correlation.
So, again, these are things that are very common. And people should not get too upset about it. Because it is what it is, you know? But I would like to say that there needs to be education, even in our community. You know, police have shown over and over that they're going to do what the want to do.
And as a black officer who continues to education my men in my community, it's important that communities and leaders around the world start educating our black men to interact with police, even though it's very difficult for us to do, because, you know, the historical oppression that black men have felt for so long.
But keep in mind, I'm concerned with saving black men's lives. And so we need to really make that push. Because at the end of the day, a police officer is going to do what a police officer is going to do. And the time to express your grievance is not at that time while that police officer is going to do what he's going to do. We need to work on that, while simultaneously addressing the injustices that are obviously just running rampant.
BLACKWELL: Yes. All right. Lieutenant Marlon Byrd, professor Laura McNeal, we'll have this expanded conversation throughout the morning and throughout the day and one week since Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson.
Back to you, Kristie, in Atlanta.
PAUL: All righty. Hey, Victor, thanks so much. Great job.
And we have talk about what is happening in Iraq, as well. U.S. warplanes trying to wrestle control of the largest dam there from ISIS militants right now. They've been bombing ISIS targets near it and Iraqi forces are expected to join that fight. As refugees try to run away, though, ISIS fighters have been
terrorizing town after town. Look at these pictures of these refugees. Now, there are reports of new horrific killings and kidnappings. We're taking you live to Iraq, next.
PAUL: Breaking overnight, U.S. and Iraqi forces trying to drive extremist militants from Iraq's largest hydroelectric dam. Now, U.S. warplanes we know have struck ISIS terror targets in northern Iraq which has become a battleground for ISIS, really, as its militants overrun town after town there.
We're joined by CNN international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh right now. He's in Irbil, in northern Iraq, and CNN military analyst, Lieutenant General Mark Hertling is with us from Orlando.
Gentlemen, thank you both so much for being here.
Nick, I want to start with you, what is the latest on the air strikes at this hour? Are they still ongoing at this hour?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As far as I understand, it is a heavy bombardment, I don't quite know bombs are dropping as we speak. But yes, there's no signs to suggest that it is letting up at all at this stage. The question is, when do the ground forces potentially get involved. The targets that are being hit, appeared to be were referred to as mobile ISIS units, that would be the vehicles, some of them purloined from the Iraqi army who got them from Americans in turn.
They appear to be the targets in many different areas around the dam. Apparently, it's 32 kilometer reached from the actual hydroelectric facility, the largest in Iraq itself. I would say the question is now, when do we start seeing potentially on the ground Peshmerga, that's Kurdish militant forces moving towards the dam? Will they potentially have the U.S. Special Forces with them to assist guiding the missiles that land, but also was going to be an extraordinarily messy operation to retake this facility?
ISIS still have engineers trying to keep it running. The question is, how do you fight over something as fragile and massively important as this dam, without causing damage to it and risking the potential damage that could cause to the thousands, hundreds of thousands of people, who live beneath these waterways?
PAUL: Yes, that's a fierce yet delicate fight there.
Bob Baer, yesterday, as I go to General Hertling, Bob Baer, former CIA operative, said that ISIS is much more potent than al Qaeda. Do you believe that to be true, and if so, how do we fight them?
GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I definitely believe that to be true, Christi. They have several strengths that were just OK, in al Qaeda. They have significant amount of cash that they've stolen from banks. They've -- they've basically occupied the oil facilities. And they're getting a lot of money there. They have better leadership and more centralized leadership within Iraq and Syria than al Qaeda did.
Iraq was a side show I think for al Qaeda. They were there in order to fight Americans. And at the end of their tour there, they decided to try and establish a caliphate. That's the primary goal of ISIS right now to establish that caliphate and have their own state there in Iraq. So, they are much more powerful.
PAUL: All right. Nick, I want to go back to you real quickly, because we've heard horrifying reports this morning of ISIS taking over a village and massacring some men and kidnapping some women. What do you know about that?
WALSH: Well, this one village apparently had 80 men killed and over 100 perhaps women and children taken away from it. The village close to Mount Sinjar where so much of the Yazidis have fled to and escaped into Kurdish territory. So we don't know a lot more about this. It's coming from Kurdish sources still to be verified properly on the ground but it fits into a broader pattern of when we see ISIS militants, where they take territory with those who they regard as infidels, the unfaithful, non-Muslim. Yes, the men are killed and women and children who as we've heard from an ISIS commander himself the past week, they give the women and children a chance to convert to Islam. And if they don't, the punishments are waged.
But a warring faction here for the ethic minorities in this part of Iraq as ISIS moves forward, the most horrific potential visions of what life in Iraq is being realized.
PAUL: General Hertling, I know some people who fought in the Iraq war, their families are watching this and they're horrified because they think they fight for nothing. And Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said that his concern is that ISIS has gone to some Americans who may train with the group and then come home with the U.S. to attack. Do you think that is indeed a real threat? And how are they enticing Americans?
HERTLING: Well, let me answer your first question about Americans who fought in Iraq. I think it's critical for our soldiers our marines, our airmen, our navy, to understand that what they did there was provide an opportunity for Iraq to go forward. Unfortunately, during a period of time that was squandered do a degree. We see indicators that Mr. Al Abadi, the new Iraq prime minister is going to bring that back. And he has support from others.
So I think is this just a cycle of history. And the American military who fought there and the State Department who fought there as well did a great service to Iraq. And I think we're attempting to bring that back. Unfortunately, ISIS is -- it's a jihadist movement. It's an extreme religious assault on moderate Islam. And it's unfortunate that they're taking a look at the territories of Iraq to build their caliphate.
It's got to be fought. It could come home to the homeland. They are certainly recruiting jihadists from around the world and from all different cultures. That's unfortunate, but I think the Iraqi government will attempt to stop that in the next few months and years, and it will be critical for the security of all of the world to stop this movement.
PAUL: OK. Nick, one more question to you. Of course, the general just mentioned the new regime there in Iraq, the new government. How willing do you think will the Sunnis be? Because you need to get -- you know, you have the Kurds you've got the Shiites. You've got to get the Sunnis involved on their side. How willing will they be to come back to the government of Iraq?
WALSH: There's some indications. The problem is Haider al Abadi really is from a completely new cloth than Nouri al Maliki. Many, though, including Barack Obama thinking that this prime minister designate, now Nouri al Maliki has finally stepped aside, Abadi has the chance to potentially unite the country. It's very difficult challenge. There are signs that the Sunni tribes willing to perhaps rise up against ISIS, they have done that in the past against al Qaeda affiliates in Iraq.
But it's an extraordinarily urgent task and one that has to overcome years of suspicion and hostility. Nouri al Maliki, now the outgoing prime minister having spent, many say, frankly all his efforts since the Americans left town, fomenting sectarian division here. The Sunnis deeply suspicious, potentially many say the communities where ISIS sanctuary at the moment. They have to really come on board with the government of Iraq if ISIS is going to get expelled from those communities where they are now.
PAUL: All right. Nick Paton Walsh and General Mark Hertling, we appreciate it so much. Thank you, gentlemen.
We'll be right back.
PAUL: That's an under statement today. And I think we have a weekend of ponytails in our futures, ladies.
Jennifer Gray, the humidity, the heat --
JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. More reasons than one. The south is dealing with the heat. We've got rain in the Midwest. Of course, showers and storms across portions of Missouri today. We could see the possibility of severe weather too. The rain pushing into St. Louis, we've got some lightning strikes there as well.
So, we could see anywhere from two to four inches of rain throughout the day today. So, we are going to be looking at a mess setting up across portions of the Midwest. We've got that warm moist air feeding in. And so, very heavy rain expected across portions of Missouri, on into southern Iowa. So, we are dealing with possibly two to four inches of rain just north of St. Louis area, anywhere from two to four inches rain around Louisville.
So, we'll keep an eye on it. This is going to continue to march through the east as we go through the afternoon and early evening hours.
So, stormy in the Midwest, a very steamy situation setting up around the southeast. Of course, we are going to see temperatures continuing to warm up as we go in through the late weekend and into the early part of next week.
So, temperatures, when you look at it on paper, it doesn't seem all that bad. Temperatures are a couple of degrees above normal, 90 degrees in Atlanta, where our average is 88. When you factor in the humidity, that's when those temperatures are really going to start to feel hot. We have humidity values in the 60s and 70s.
And so, it is going to feel very, very hot out there. Temperatures across much of the east will continue to warm. We actually enjoyed a couple of really nice days during this week. That's all changing as we go into next week. Not only the Southeast, but the northeast is going to catch up as well.
Temperatures close to 90 degrees in Raleigh. D.C. will still be in the mid-80s today. New York City, right around 81. So, not feeling so bad. So, we are going to continue to see a bit of a warm up as we go into next week.
One little note to pass along, Christi, for all you stargazers out there. Tomorrow night into Monday morning, Venus and Jupiter -- look to the skies. They're going to be very close together. Look to the east/northeast sky 30 minutes before sunrise on Monday. You'll be able to see those planets if you have clear skies. It's going to be very cool. Of course, we'll be looking at that as we go into Monday morning.
We'll have much more after the break.
PAUL: Nice to wake up without an alarm clock, isn't it?