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U.S. General on Kunduz Attack; NATO Secretary General Questions Russian Aims in Syria; California Signs Assisted Suicide Bill into Law; Deaths, Dam Breaches in South Carolina Flooding; Netanyahu Pledges to Stop "Wave of Terrorism"; Pistorius Family Slams Delay of Parole Decision. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired October 6, 2015 - 10:00   ET



SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZ.: But isn't it an indication that the Taliban have significant strength, including in an area in the north where they,

generally speaking, did not have very much capability thanks to the make-up there in northern Afghanistan?


were surprised when the Taliban were able to take over Kunduz City. A lot of reasons I think why that the Afghans are taking a hard look as well to

make sure they understand and do their own sort of after-action on this. Part of the reason, they didn't have many of the key leaders in place.

The city, for the most part, had police; the Afghan army was on the outskirts. They did not reinforce. Bottom line, the Taliban were able to

come in and attack from within the city and, quite frankly, surprised the police forces that enabled the Taliban to gain a great I.O. victory.

I don't think the Taliban had intent to stay in Kunduz for very long. As soon as the Afghan forces were able to bring additional forces in,

logistically resupply that, the Taliban, for the most part, melted away, left the city. There are -- there are small isolated pockets that they

continue to fight.

MCCAIN: From a P.R. standpoint, though, it was a rather significant victory for the Taliban.

CAMPBELL: Sir, absolutely. Yes.

MCCAIN: Finally, you said in your testimony, we will need to help the Afghans address capability gaps in aviation, intelligence and special

operations. And I'd add logistics to that list.

Shouldn't it be that you would be -- should be recommending not numbers of people to the White House but capabilities and then fill in the numbers

after that?

Is that the process you are using or is it you're just giving them numbers?

CAMPBELL: Sir, I deal in capabilities, as you talk about. So, I look at the requirement and then really the needs assessment the Afghans would have

and then try to base the courses of action, based on those requirements.

MCCAIN: So, their needs are aviation, intelligence and special operations, according to your testimony?

CAMPBELL: Sir, absolutely. Sustainment, logistics, the aviation piece. You know, we just, quite frankly, started late on their air force, building

their close air support capability; logistics and sustainment is hard for any army.

For a U.S. Army that has been around for 240 years, try to compare that to an Afghan army that is nascent and maybe only eight to nine years old, it

is quite tough. They'll --

MCCAIN: And aviation is one of the areas of most critical, I would argue. I think they have two helicopter.

Is that right?

CAMPBELL: Sir, they have two functioning Mi-35 helicopters. They have several Mi-17s. Now they have the MD 530, which we introduced here.

But as far as close air support helicopters, that's a key gap. As you know, sir, it takes two or three years to grow a pilot, two or three years

to grow maintainers. We're doing that as fast as we can. They started out the season with five Mi-35s. Today they have two, just based on air frame


MCCAIN: Well, I thank you.

And again, General, I would like to, again, express my appreciation for the outstanding job you are doing under extremely difficult constraints. I

thank you, General.

Senator Reed?

SEN. JACK REED, D-R.I. Thank you very much (INAUDIBLE).

And, thank you, General, for your testimony and for your service.

So, this has been a long struggle and every community in this country has seen the effects. And just recently a brave young Rhode Islander, Sergeant

First Class Andrew McKenna was killed in action in Kabul.

So, this is not just academic or hypothetical. This is very real for our country and for the men and women of this country and our armed services.

Let me ask you a question. You have two major missions, train and equip, together with counter-terrorist operations.

Isn't the context of counter-terror operations, do you need a physical presence outside of Kabul to do that effectively?

CAMPBELL: Sir, to conduct counter-terror operations effectively, it would have to be outside of Kabul, yes, sir.

REED: So that would argue in terms of capabilities for a presence that is beyond the simple environment of Kabul?

CAMPBELL: Yes, sir.

REED: There's new leadership in the Taliban. Mullah Mansour is taking control. His deputies include, I think, one principal of the Haqqani

Network, which is located on both sides of the border with Afghanistan and Pakistan.

And all of this raises the issue -- well, the role of Pakistan, which consistent and a constant issue that comes up.

Just a few months ago, they were trying to broker peace talks.

Can you give us some insights into the current position of the Pakistan --


REED: -- government, with respect to what's going on in your A.L. (ph)?

CAMPBELL: Sir, again, as far as reconciliation and Pakistan's role, Afghanistan has said many times that this has to be Afghan-led. On

reconciliation, I think Pakistan understands that.

President Ghani and the leadership inside of Pakistan have talked several times about reconciliation moving forward. I think both President Ghani

and Pakistan understand that there has to be some sort of political resolution to this fight. And so reconciliation is one of those ways.

Right now, with the Taliban being fractured, with Mansour claiming that he is the head with other folks, like Zakir, Manan, Yaqub, Dadullah, other

senior Taliban members are actually still trying to struggle to fight against that and don't believe that Mansour should be the head.

I think that will work itself out. But I think there's opportunities for Afghanistan to take advantage of that as they move forward. There was, as

everybody I think -- has been mentioned here, there was one peace talk. There was a second one that was on the table that was moving forward in

just a day or so before -- is when the Mullah Omar death was announced.

And they scrapped that. I do believe -- and I did have the opportunity to talk to General Raheel Sharif, the Pakistan chief of the army. I talk to

him probably once a week. I try to get to Pakistan once a month.

I did talk to him last Monday. And he is dedicated, trying to move the peace process back. And I know that he and President Ghani will continue

to try to work through that.

But again, sir, I think that's going to take time and a lot of effort by a lot of people. And I don't think we should expect that's going to happen

here in the near future. But it will take concerted effort by all.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST: You've been listening there to a top U.S. commander testifying before a U.S. Senate committee, specifically saying a

hospital in Kunduz in Afghanistan was accidentally struck on Saturday and the U.S. would never intentionally hit a medical facility.

General Joseph (sic) Campbell -- you see him there -- says Afghanistan is at a critical juncture with fighting continuous since February. NATO says

it's assessing troop levels on bases in Afghanistan but he did get -- lay out some very strong assessments of the Afghan security forces, calling

them inconsistent, that they've been having an uneven performance this fighting season.

I want to talk about what is happening in Afghanistan, comments and reaction to what this general has just been saying. I'm joined now by

former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Admiral James Stavridis. He's with us from Tufts University, which is just outside Boston.

Thanks so much for joining us. I don't know how much you managed to hear there of those comments. But either way, really painting a damning picture

of the Afghan security forces but, at the same time, conceding that work was and still needed to be done.

ADMIRAL JAMES STAVRIDIS, FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: Well, first of all, General Campbell was one of my two-star commanders in Afghanistan.

He's now the four-star overall commander reporting to my successor as Supreme Allied Commander.

I know General Campbell extremely well. He's a highly credible, honest witness to events. When he says the Afghan security forces are

inconsistent, that's exactly right. That is to say they have points where they are very, very good: special operations, immediate urban operations

in the Kabul area.

But they have other areas where they need more work. And this talks to why we need to maintain a NATO and a U.S. troop-and-trainer presence for at

least another three to five years.

CURNOW: He specifically refers to intelligence command and control, equipment maintenance; I mean, there's a long list here of where he feels

there are failures within the Afghan security forces.

What you're talking about is deepening and continuing U.S. NATO involvement in a country where President Obama wanted to pull back.

STAVRIDIS: Well, let's remember, Robyn, that, as recently as two years ago, we had over 100,000 troops there. Now the coalition is down to

somewhere around only 13,000. So that's a huge drop in NATO and U.S. military capability.

So you would expect the Afghan security forces, who have to take on that burden, to receive some blowback, some difficulties with the Taliban.

Given that drop from over 100,000 to only 13,000 coalition troops, I think this is not unexpected. The real issue is going forward. I think if we

maintain about 15,000 troops as trainers, supporting in the areas you've just mentioned, I think the Afghan security forces can, in fact, hold the

fort against the Taliban because, let's face it. If the Taliban --


STAVRIDIS: -- really could drive into Kabul and take it over, they would. What they are doing and have shown us is they can go into a medium-size

city and take it for a couple days. It's a difficult proposition. All is not lost.

CURNOW: OK. Sir, if it's still -- I mean, the general's saying that they can't handle it alone.

Do you think there's appetite for even 15,000 troops?

Does anybody want that?

Is it possible?

STAVRIDIS: I think it is.


STAVRIDIS: If we look at the capability, for example, of the U.S. Army, which has hundreds of thousands of troops, maintaining about 9,000, which

is the U.S. contingent, is something that can be done for a very long time.

We have 35,000 troops in Korea. We have 45,000 troops in Europe. I think we can muster up 9,000 U.S. troops to stay in Afghanistan.

And I think our allies, the U.K. among them as the leading non-U.S. contributor, I think will stay with us at the range of about 4,000 troops.

That gives us about 15,000. I think that's sufficient.

But what we don't want to do is withdraw that. We've watched that movie, most recently in Iraq, when we withdrew everybody and we saw that result.

We don't want to do that in Afghanistan.

CURNOW: We also saw the consequences of not an active post-conflict situation in Libya and what happened there.

With this in mind, this White House's foreign policy has been very much based on arming and training and trying to bolster up local military

forces, whether it's in Iraq, whether it's in Afghanistan, even trying with a handful of rebels in Syria.

Has that worked?

STAVRIDIS: Well, you've hit on several places where it has not worked so well.

I'll give you a couple where it has worked fairly well. One is in Colombia where the U.S. has been very helpful to the Colombian forces and they have

pushed back on an insurgency and they're about to sign a peace deal.

Another one is in the Balkans, Robyn, think about the Balkans 20 years ago. They were on fire, looked a lot like Syria today.

International community went in, stabilized, long-term presence. We still have 5,000 troops in the Balkans helping keep the peace there.

So it's a mixed picture. We've had some setbacks recently, for sure. But that doesn't mean we should give up on the idea of arming, training and

equipping local forces.

CURNOW: OK. With that in mind, I just want to bring in the issue of Russia. Standby; I just want to bring our audience also up to date on

where we are now, in terms of the most recent news.

If you don't mind, I'm going to get your comment on that in just a few moments.

But Russia's military activities in Syria and the Turkish anger over Russian incursions into its airspace continues. The NATO secretary general

says the violations of Turkish airspace near the Syrian border were serious, not accidental and unacceptable.

Jens Stoltenberg also talked about Russian operations in Syria and questioned whether they're truly aimed at ISIS militants.


JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: I will not go into any specific numbers, but I can confirm that we have seen a substantial buildup of

Russian forces in Syria -- air forces, air defenses, but also then ground troops in connection with the air base they have.

And we also see increased naval presence of Russian ships, naval capabilities outside Syria or the eastern part of the Mediterranean. So

there has been a substantial military buildup of Russia with many different kinds of capabilities, forces over the last weeks.


CURNOW: Jens Stoltenberg there, the NATO secretary general. The Russian defense ministry released this video, said to show its air force hitting

targets inside Syria. Syrian state media reported Tuesday that joint Russian and Syrian airstrikes hit ISIS targets in the city of Palmyra.

We're going to go now to Matthew Chance for reaction on that.

Matthew, you're in Moscow; we've been hearing a number of developments about Russian action in Syria. And the word is, you know, possibility or a

growth of ground troops on the ground there. Just explain that development and what that means.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, it's something that's been categorically denied by the Kremlin. They

have a certain amount of ground troops in Syria at the moment; they're mainly playing a force protection role or they're technical experts

training the Syrian military on how to use the weapons that Russia has sold them.

They obviously have advisors there, special forces there and other elements as well. But for that figure, we understand, runs into several hundred

people, individuals, members --


CHANCE: -- of the military services. You got the pilots and the air crews as well, of course, engaged in these airstrikes.

What's not happening, according to the Kremlin, is that they're deploying more ground forces there in preparation for a ground offensive. That was

word we were getting out of the United States over the past couple of days. The Pentagon has been briefing reporters there, essentially saying that

this is what their assessment is of the latest intelligence they've seen on the ground.

But that's not something that the Kremlin agree with. And it's not something actually that Jens Stoltenberg necessarily talked about, either.

He was talking about a buildup of Russian forces in force protection roles over the past several weeks. And so it's a pretty uncertain and disputed


CURNOW: OK, Matthew Chance, thanks for that in Moscow.

I want to bring back former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Admiral James Stavridis back.

You heard Matthew there. This possibility of Russian ground troops, we've also been hearing about Russian fighter jets in NATO airspace, Turkey.

When was the last time you saw this level of insecurity?

STAVRIDIS: It's hard to put a moment in time. I think you'd honestly have to go back to the Balkans about 20 years ago for a similar level of crisis;

refugees displaced as well as combat operations both by NATO and Russia. So this is probably two decades since we've seen something really at this

level of violence in such a muddy set of circumstances -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Well, it seems like -- I mean, the situation has incremented -- escalated quite slowly in Syria in many ways. It's been like a frog being

slowly boiled. I mean, if you put it in hot water, it will hop out. But if you gradually increase the temperature, it will let itself be boiled.

Suddenly this crisis is more complex, more dangerous.

How did we get here?

STAVRIDIS: Well, first of all, I'd make the point that if you leave that frog in the water long enough and the water is boiling, pretty soon the

frog just starts to dissolve. And that's, I think, the real worry about Syria at this point.

As Russia comes in in such a strong and dramatic way, supporting this highly illegal Assad regime, the tendency to simply split the country and

take that western portion, which is where the Alawite population lives, off to one side is increasing and that would leave the desert region, where

ISIS has control, as a separate battle space. So I'm very concerned at this point about the dissolution of Syria.

CURNOW: OK. Former Supreme Allied Commander Admiral James Stavridis, thank you for your perspective. Of course, the big question is what does

NATO do next? What kind of response, if any, if played out?

Thank you so much for your perspective.

You're watching INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow. We'll be right back after this short break.





CURNOW: Welcome back.

First, medical marijuana and now assisted suicide. The State of California often sets the trend when it comes to passing controversial legislation in

the U.S.

On Monday, Governor Jerry Brown signing a bill allowing doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients. Four other states

have such laws on the books, including Oregon.

Only a few countries outside the U.S., though, allow doctor-assisted suicide. Belgium and the Netherlands made it, assisted suicide legal in

2002. The Dutch law also allows euthanasia for children over the age of 12 with parental consent.

Luxembourg approved assisted suicide for adults only in 2009. And in Switzerland, doctors can assist a patient seeking to die, but euthanasia

itself remains illegal.

The documentary, "How to Die in Oregon," looks at both sides of the controversial issue of assisted suicide. It featured a wife and mother

named Cody Curtis, who was suffering from the painful effects, the devastating effects of liver cancer. Watch this.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): I would prefer not to die, thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): The Oregon law's been thoroughly tested. Now it's time to get it going in other states.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): I just think a society has to be asked if this is what we really want.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): My husband did not feel that any government or any religious leader had the right to tell him how long he

had to suffer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): I understand there's a kind of dignity in suffering but there's a certain grace in accepting the inevitable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): I can't do it anymore. I think all of us would like to have some options on how we take control of our life at

the end.


CURNOW: Well, Curtis died in 2009 after taking a lethal prescription dose of barbiturates. Her husband, Stan Curtis, joins me now live via Skype

from Portland, Oregon.

Thank you so much for speaking to us.

"I just can't take it anymore," simple question, simple statement.

How hard was that?

And how hard was it watching the documentary, watching her die all over again?

STAN CURTIS, WIDOWER: Well, it's very important. And it was, of course, a hard thing to do while -- but I think having, you know, the chance to work

it through and talk it through as a family was very helpful.

And I think we were lucky to have that choice and it's really become an important part of our tradition. And our family is quite religious; we're

strong believers in different things. So the end of life was a hard religious issue that, I think, we were able to work through as Cody's

choice in a very helpful way for the whole family. So.

CURNOW: She says there -- and I think you've said it -- is that she understood the meaning of life and that this was not a story about dying;

it was actually a story about living.

CURTIS: Yes. I think she made a point actually of not saying goodbye but saying thank you. And we really benefited from that, I think. "Thank you"

is a nice gesture and it never gets said enough. So it's great to have that feeling of giving. (INAUDIBLE).

CURNOW: And what does this documentary --


CURNOW: -- this very hard-to-watch documentary give?

What do you want it to give?

What did she want?

What was the message she wanted?

CURTIS: Well, you know, this was done, sponsored by HBO and they've done a lot of documentaries.

I was most stunned when the documentary, "King," could not watch the movie from start to finish because they've seen death and torture and rape and

incest and stuff (INAUDIBLE).

And they couldn't watch the topic of death and what felt like to me a love story because death was so stunning and hard to address.

I think the video gives people a language that's not biased by a set of words that have other meanings.

And I think that gives people a feeling of sharing and caring with the images and facial, you know, genuine facial care.

So that -- the movie really built a vocabulary around death which everyone has and made it part of a story that connected for people.

I think it was very well done. I'm so happy that it was not -- it feels like our story, not the film's story.

CURNOW: Tell me what you think about the political implications, the political debate around this issue, particularly in the U.S., and the moves

that are just being made by California.

CURTIS: Well, I think it's a very important topic, but also a very hard topic. Even in our family, I think it was very hard to talk about at


So I think politically being able to even talk about it is a breakthrough. And then I think to actually have a legislature vote for it and a governor

sign off on it, despite, you know, significant investments in religious beliefs that aren't necessarily easy for this topic, I think that's a real

important milestone.

I think -- I mean, this is a very important life event. And it's great to be able to have it be constructive. And the political discourse to be a

positive opportunity to make for better communities with better choices.

CURNOW: Stan Curtis, on how dying is a very important life event, thank you very much and thanks for joining us.

CURTIS: Thank you.

Still ahead, fighting in the streets: a hospital bombed. Aid agencies say it's time to go. We'll have the latest on the situation in Kunduz.





CURNOW: Welcome to the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow. Here's a check of the headlines.


CURNOW (voice-over): The secretary general of NATO is condemning Russia's violation of Turkish airspace near the Syrian border. Jens Stoltenberg

said the incursion was unacceptable; he also said the alliance has seen a substantial buildup of Russian forces in Syria, including ground troops.

Israel has destroyed the homes of two Palestinian men and sealed up a third in and around Jerusalem. The men had carried out attacks on Israelis last

year. All have been killed by Israeli forces. Israel says such demolitions serve as a deterrent to future attacks.

Forecasters say the worst may be yet to come in the flooded South Carolina region. Rivers may not crest for another two weeks; 13 people in two

states have died in massive flooding. Nine dams have either breached or failed. Damage is expected to be in the billions of dollars. U.S.

President Barack Obama has declared South Carolina a disaster area.

The head of U.S. forces in Afghanistan says personnel are being retrained to avoid accidents. General John Campbell appeared before U.S. lawmakers

following Saturday's airstrike on a hospital which killed more than 20 people.

Campbell said the bombing was an accident. He also said he'll be adjusting his troop level recommendations because of what's happening on the ground.


CURNOW: The worst is far from over now in that epic flooding that's been blamed for 13 deaths in two U.S. states. Whole towns in South Carolina are

virtually underwater; damage is expected to be in the billions of dollars. Forecasters say rising waters may not crest for another two weeks. South

Carolina's governor says more evacuations are likely.

Well, a major factor fueling this disaster, the breach or outright failure of multiple dams unleashing all kinds of havoc. Nick Valencia has that.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Officials in South Carolina waking up to lingering fears that more catastrophic flooding and new dam

breaches could be on the way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the river standpoint, we haven't hit the worst of it yet.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Nine dams failing, buckling under the pressure of historic rains, some areas seeing more than 20 inches, the deluge to blame

for more than a dozen deaths in the Carolinas.

NIKKI HALEY, GOVERNOR OF SOUTH CAROLINA: Just because the rain stops does not mean that we're out of the woods.

VALENCIA (voice-over): This road collapsed in Lugoff, claiming the life of a man driving with a female passenger, the vehicle careening through

barricades. She survived, pulled from the overturned wreckage amid rushing water.

In Ridgeville, a chilling rescue of a different kind, floodwaters unearthing caskets from a nearby cemetery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's somebody's family out there. Let's show respect. This is respect. We got to respect the dead.

VALENCIA (voice-over): This man risking his own life, venturing into waist-deep water, pushing a casket to shore.

In the hard-hit area of downtown Columbia, the Congaree River peaking to the highest it's been in decades, coverage interstate roads, leaving homes

underwater and washing out bridges.

Now at least six nearby states sending emergency workers into South Carolina for added flood relief. So far, 1,300 National Guard members are

on duty, crews in Black Hawk helicopters leading statewide rescue efforts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's sad because people have lost their businesses, they've lost homes and if affected across the board, did not discriminate.

VALENCIA (voice-over): The devastation prompting President Obama to declare South Carolina a major disaster area, ordering --


VALENCIA (voice-over): -- federal aid.


CURNOW: Well, state officials have described the system that caused this massive flooding as a 1,000-year storm. Now that means statistically it's

an event with a one-in-1,000 chance of happening in any given year.

Now returning to our top story, Afghan forces are fighting the Taliban in Kunduz and now the U.N. tells us that all aid agencies have been pulled

out. Let's go to CNN's Nic Robertson in the Afghan capital for more.

Hi, there, Nic. I hear you're getting new information from Doctors without Borders on that airstrike on their hospital.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Robyn, what we're hearing from Doctors without Borders is that they're giving now a

more complete assessment of what happened on the ground that night.

They're saying that -- the reason they say they can be sure that the hospital was specifically targeted was because there was only one building

in the whole large compound that was hit. This was the ICU unit, the unit that had the surgery in it and also a physiotherapy ward as well.

Now they say that the staff could hear the aircraft circling around and circling around. And then it makes a pass and strikes this one building.

And then it circles around and circles around and circles around and comes back and strikes the same building again. And they say that this pattern

is repeated several times.

None of the other buildings in the compound, they say, are damaged or significantly damaged; they're not hit. So they say that this was a direct

targeting of their building inside the hospital compound.

So, for that reason, this new information that they're putting out does seem to show that the fire was directed, carefully directed, they say, on

just one building, not any of the others in the compound, this one building alone -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Nic Robertson in Kabul, thank you for that update.

Still ahead, new clashes in the West Bank and Jerusalem. We'll look at how Israel is responding.




CURNOW: Welcome back.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is carrying out his pledge to stop a wave of terrorism --


CURNOW: -- after escalating violence in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Erin McLaughlin has the story.


ERIC MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It seems the Israeli government is trying to send a message. Overnight in East Jerusalem, Israeli forces

demolished the homes of two Palestinians and sealed off the room of a third, all three homes relating to attacks that took place in Jerusalem

last year.

The timing of these demolitions is significant, part of a range of measures introduced to respond to a wave of violence seen across Jerusalem and the

West Bank, measures which -- some of which are unprecedented, including administrative detention for people who participate in riots.

Administrative detention is a controversial practice in which suspects are held without trial or charge. They're also, Israeli government officials

say, thinking of introducing fines for parents of stone-throwers.

Now Palestinian officials reacting to this with outrage, saying that the demolitions of the Palestinian homes are a war crime, also saying that it's

a form of collective punishment. It remains to be seen if these measures will escalate or deescalate the situation -- Erin McLaughlin, CNN,



CURNOW: Well, thanks to Erin for that report.

And we just got a statement in while we've been on air from the family of Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, issuing a very strong statement condemning

South Africa's parole review board for delaying a decision to grant Pistorius parole and keep him in prison.

Now the Pistorius family are saying they are disconcerted by the process and are concerned he is being unlawfully and unfairly treated. This

experience leaves us, quote, "with the uncomfortable conclusion that the public, political and media hype allowed to develop around Oscar's trial

has undermined his right to be treated like any other prisoner."

So these are very strong statements coming from the Pistorius family.

Now, next: Edward Snowden says he's offered to serve prison time as part of a plea deal. The former U.S. National Security Agency contractor fled

to Russia after exposing details of the NSA's mass surveillance programs.

Snowden told the BBC he volunteered several times to go to prison but has never been offered a formal plea bargain. He also said that his legal team

hasn't heard back from U.S. prosecutors.

Well, that's it from us here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Thanks so much for joining us. I'm Robyn Curnow. "WORLD SPORT" with Alex Thomas is up next.