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Dutch Report Concludes MH17 Shot Down by Missile; MH17: The Open Source Evidence; MSF President on Impact of Kunduz Hospital Bombing; Imagine a World. Aired 5-5:30p ET
Aired October 16, 2015 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: highlights from this week's big interviews on AMANPOUR.
Coming up, MH17 was brought down by a Russian-made missile but who fired it?
Ukraine's foreign minister responds to the Dutch safety board's report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAVLO KLIMKIN, UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: . for us, it's critical to have a legally compulsory option for Russia to get those responsible for this
tragedy to this tribunal or to any legal vehicle. It's indeed critical.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Plus I speak with a blogger who says he's located the launch site.
And seeking justice, the head of Doctors without Borders tells me patients at their Kunduz hospital burned in their beds after a U.S. air raid. Now
the wheels have been set in motion for independent investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOANNE LIU, PRESIDENT, DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS: If we don't give that strong signal, it means everywhere in the world, where we have parties at
war, it's going to be a free-for-all. We cannot afford that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to this special weekend version of our program. I'm Fred Pleitgen in for Christiane.
This week was heartbreaking for the families of those killed on board MH17. Dutch investigators laid out all the details they've uncovered about the
incident. It's clear the 777 was shot down by a Russian made surface-to- air missile but they don't know who launched it.
Was it Pro-Russian separatists or Ukrainian forces?
A separate criminal investigation will attempt to find the culprits. The Netherlands' prime minister urged Russia's full participation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK RUTTE, DUTCH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I want to call on Russian authorities to respect but also to provide complete cooperation
with this report and the following criminal investigation by the Dutch public prosecutor in collaboration with four other countries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: Now, Moscow immediately lashed out at the report, calling it, quote, "biased and political."
The maker of the Buk missiles, a state-owned company, said the model used in the attack was too old to belong to Russia.
The Dutch report says the airspace above the conflict zone should have been closed to civilian planes.
And for an official Ukrainian response, I spoke with the country's foreign minister, Pavlo Klimkin. He joined me exclusively from the United Nations
in New York.
PLEITGEN: Pavlo Klimkin, welcome to the program.
KLIMKIN: It's a pleasure to be with you.
PLEITGEN: Sir, as you know, the report came out today by the Dutch safety board and it gave a lot of new facts but it did not assign blame for who
shot down MH17.
How satisfied are you with the report?
And what do you make of the findings?
KLIMKIN: Firstly, it's a technical investigation, the report. And it's about the reason why and in what way the Malaysian airplane has been shot
We will have, in the future of the criminal investigation, a report, hopefully, at the beginning of next year. And we will definitely --
KLIMKIN: -- get more about the chain of command.
PLEITGEN: Now right before the press conference happens today, where the report was issued, the Russian maker of the Buk missile system came out and
issued their own report, where they said that the missile must have been fired from territory controlled by Ukrainian forces.
How do you respond to that, sir?
KLIMKIN: You know, my response is very straightforward and clear. Firstly, we had a unique investigation team. We've been given the lead for
the esteemed -- for our Dutch esteemed friends and partners. It's about combined experience. It's about our key experts.
And no doubt that is a missile has been fired from the territory controlled by Russia and by pro-Russian proxies.
So in this sense, Russia can play any kind of game with any kind of quasi- evidences. But in any way, we have clear technical investigation reports.
PLEITGEN: One of the other things that was criticized in the report was that, prior to this happening, the airspace over the conflict zone was not
completely closed off.
Why didn't you do that?
KLIMKIN: The answer is also really straightforward. No one, literally no one could have imagined that such highly sophisticated and extremely
dangerous weapons could be brought into Donbas. And it was brought by Russia.
PLEITGEN: But, sir, I just want to stick with that point because, three days prior to the shootdown of MH17, on July 14th, 2014, an Antonov 26 of
the Ukrainian Air Force was shot down at a height of 6,500 meters, which is about 22,000 feet.
So it must have been clear at that point that there was long-range, high- altitude anti-aircraft weaponry in that area, wouldn't it?
KLIMKIN: Our authorities, including the militaries, believe that Antonov airplane has been hit by Russian missiles and from the Russian territory.
And it was about different altitude.
And from the technical point of view, it's completely different from shooting down the airplane at the altitude more than 11,000 meters.
So in any kind of risk analysis and in any kind of imagination, there was no, in any way, understanding about Russia bringing such extremely
dangerous anti-air missile complex to Ukraine.
PLEITGEN: When we look at the investigation that's going forward, obviously a lot of things are still very murky; a lot of facts aren't
Do you think that an international tribunal would be the best way forward to try and bring clarity?
KLIMKIN: I believe that international tribunal is the best legal vehicle to address this issue because it's fully accountable to the Security
Council. It's fully unbiased and it's fully transparent.
Why should you reject the whole notion of such in a national tribunal if you want the perpetrators to be brought to justice?
If we can't go along with such an option, we could come forward with the idea either of so-called hybrid tribunal or national jurisdiction.
But we could also try to find an option where, after legal shaping up for the future option, we could ask for the Security Council back in because,
for us, it's critical to have a legally compulsory option for Russia to get those responsible for this tragedy to this tribunal or to any legal
vehicle. It's indeed critical.
PLEITGEN: Pavlo Klimkin, thank you for joining the program.
KLIMKIN: It was a pleasure.
PLEITGEN: Eliot Higgins, also known as Brown Moses, is a British blogger who spent countless hours verifying and geolocating crowd-sourced photos
and videos to try to provide evidence of the launch site of the missile that brought down MH17 as well as who fired it. He founded the Bellingcat
Blog and is a visiting research associate at the Kings College, right here in London.
When I spoke to him earlier this week, he told me how he did it.
PLEITGEN: Welcome, Eliot, and thank you for joining the program. During the presentation today about the findings --
PLEITGEN: -- of the commission, they gave the area from where the missile may have been launched at around 320 square kilometers. You say you know
exactly where it was launched from.
How and why?
ELIOT HIGGINS, BELLINGCAT.COM: That's right. We've examined what we (INAUDIBLE) information from a variety of sources and it really points to
one very specific location south of the town of Snezhnoye. And this is part of the area that was shown today in the safety --
PLEITGEN: So you're talking about Twitter feeds, blogs, things people have said publicly on the Internet?
HIGGINS: Yes, and things like satellite map imagery and other information. What we have here, for example, is a tweet that was sent out a few hours
after MH17 was shot down. This shows smoke rising from the ground and this was said to be the Buk missile --
PLEITGEN: The trajectory of the missile.
HIGGINS: Yes, so you can see where the missile came from. So what we did, we looked at all this visual information here and we compared it to
satellite map imagery and what that gave us was the actual direction of the smoke.
In this --
PLEITGEN: This is the field where it allegedly was shot from?
HIGGINS: -- it's around this area, we believe, because this field is very interesting because this has been plowed. We can see in the satellite
imagery just after July 17th that this was plowed.
Journalists went out to this location; they found various people pointing in this direction as the area the missile was launched from.
If we in fact look at imagery from July 16th, obviously, we can actually see that it wasn't plowed at that time. This is satellite imagery of the
field. So we have farmers saying in the local area the field was on fire on July 17th.
What's also very interesting, if you look at the social media posts in the area around moments after MH17 was shot down, you see people saying, I saw
a missile, I saw a rocket, it came from this direction. And every time it points in one direction, which is this general location.
So you start with the one photograph. What we do is build more information around those images.
What we have here is this is marking satellite data that was provided by the U.S. government and this again --
PLEITGEN: Open source, again, available to anyone.
HIGGINS: Well, this was something they published from a satellite that records various data and signals and it points to this specific -- this
location is the approximate launch site. It was a very low resolution image so there's a certain degree of inaccuracy but again it points to this
same general location.
So time and time again we're able to build up these layers of information that point to this launch site.
And as the Dutch safety board showed today, that their calculations and the Russian calculations and the Ukrainian calculations all point to an area
that this is part of.
PLEITGEN: Now that's the one question.
The other question is whose possession was the Buk missile battery in?
And you tracked that back as well, didn't you?
HIGGINS: That's correct. On the day very shortly after MH17 was shot down, we had images like this, which showed the Buk missile launch, which
you can see --
PLEITGEN: Right here, yes. Exactly.
PLEITGEN: -- tarpaulin or something right here or a net over the --
HIGGINS: -- camouflage netting covering the missiles. And we have several images -- it's always shown on this truck, with this white cabin and this
blue stripe and this yellow awning, it's the -- you know, loading ramps.
But we want to know exactly where these were taken. So what we did with this image, we had the shop, you can see here and we simply Googled the
name of the shop and the towns it could be in.
And that actually took us to a wiki that was for Eastern Ukrainian streets. And it had a list of streets with the shops that were on them.
So we then have the street name and the shop name. So we Googled that. That brought the court document, where there had been a fight in the shop
which gave the full address.
We also found videos of a guy who was driving around, filming the streets, which we actually could use to find the precise location.
And once we have that precise location, we could use these shadows to tell the time of day, which gave us about 12:30.
Then we found social media posts made around 12:30 of people saying, I've just seen a Buk in this location.
And then we have journalists go in, again --
PLEITGEN: This area was controlled by Russian separatists at the time?
HIGGINS: Yes. We could see this Buk missile launcher, traveling through the area controlled by Russian separatists. But then it got to Snezhnoye
and it unloaded from the truck and the last images we have of it is it driving south out of the town towards that launch site.
PLEITGEN: On its own power.
HIGGINS: On its own power.
PLEITGEN: Driving on its own power.
When you do something like this on the Web, you don't just make friends, you make enemies as well.
What sort of reactions have you gotten?
Have there been attempts to discredit to what you are doing?
HIGGINS: Yes, the -- I mean Russia today has put out something like five different reports on our work, criticizing it, in the last week alone.
What's very interesting, though, one part of the work we've done is looking at the claims of the Russian government; in particular, the Russian
ministry of defense. They had a big press conference in July 21st, 2014, and they presented a series of -- their evidence there.
We've gone through all the evidence and all of it is either fabrications or lies. And, you know, we -- what happens is we -- we're attacked by Russia
today, for example, for the work we're doing but they never actually engage directly with the claims we've made.
You don't have to be Columbo to figure out the Russian government, you know, the Russian ministry of defense immediately lies about their evidence
and then the Russian media is attacking someone like me and then the Dutch safety board comes out and says their work supports the work we're doing.
So obviously we're causing concern with the Russians.
PLEITGEN: Eliot Higgins, thanks very much.
HIGGINS: Thank you.
PLEITGEN: And when we come back, 22 people were killed when the U.S. mistakenly bombed a Doctors without Borders hospital in Afghanistan. Their
president tells me why she's calling for independent investigation despite a personal apology from Obama.
PLEITGEN: This week, President Obama announced another delay in the drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan all this amid a growing Taliban
threat. The city of Kunduz is now back under government control after Taliban militants stormed the place two weeks ago. But the episode shows
just how fragile NATO's gains in Afghanistan really are.
America's standing has also been damaged after a U.S. warplane mistakenly bombed a Doctors without Borders hospital there, killing 22 people.
President Obama has apologized to the organization's president, Joanne Liu, but she's still demanding an independent investigation into the incident.
I spoke to her right after she found out that the process for such an investigation has now been set in motion.
PLEITGEN: Joanne Liu, thank you for joining the program.
LIU: Thank you.
PLEITGEN: First of all, of course, we need to talk about the bombing of the hospital in Kunduz and, above all, it is a tragedy for the
organization, for the people who work for it.
How are people coping within the organization and also, of course, the loved ones of those who are affected?
LIU: We are struggling in coping with the situation. It's a tragic event for the whole organization. Right now, just in Kunduz, our center is
closed. So there's no more access to trauma health care in this region.
This wasn't a little bush hospital. We're talking about a high-tech --
LIU: Yes, exactly. So this is what we're depriving the all northeast (ph) region of Afghanistan. Today it doesn't have a trauma care center.
In terms of our team, our international team has been brought back to the capital and some have come back to their home country or some of them as
well as volunteering in other hospitals to work.
PLEITGEN: -- photos that have just come out, the first photos of the aftermath of the bombing, what do you think when you see something like
I mean, it looks like it was hit by extremely heavy ordnance.
LIU: Those pictures are, I would say, very, very disturbing. When we were seeing the level of violence that happened was real, I think now somehow we
have a mental image of it.
But we know that our patients burned alive in their beds and those pictures somehow are testimony of that.
So the next step is trying to find out what happened, why it happened, what led to the airstrike. And this is why we still strongly ask for
independent and partial investigation.
PLEITGEN: You had the U.S. president call you to apologize for what happened.
What exactly did he have to say and do you think that there's a will on the American side for an independent investigation?
LIU: Well, the reason he called, the president's share his apologies to -- with the organization and with the family and then he has conveyed to me
that he was committed to do an independent, transparent investigation in the U.S.
In response to that I have basically asked him to consider, strongly to consent to an independent, impartial investigation by the international
humanitarian fact-finding --
LIU: -- commission. So this is where we are right now.
PLEITGEN: So you've been calling for this international investigation by the body of the Geneva Convention. It seems as though that is going to
What is your take on that?
LIU: We have just been told it's a fact that it's going to be activated. It's been activated, meaning that now we basically have done almost 50
percent of the journey because now the next step is to get the consent from the two countries, Afghanistan and USA, to consent to carry it on for this
PLEITGEN: One of the things that the U.S. military has said in the past years is there are going to be mistakes in efforts, like in Afghanistan,
like the ones they had in Iraq, but that it's important for the military to be completely open about them and to then investigate them and punish those
who are responsible.
Why don't you think that an investigation done by the U.S. military or the United States is enough?
LIU: They may have to do their internal investigation and I think it's fine. They should do it.
But the purpose of what we're looking for, which is about finding out if there was violation of international humanitarian law, this isn't the
purpose of their investigation.
Their investigation is about to find out where the chain of command, how things were decided, did we do the thing accordingly to our center of
operation, which is, for me, two different, I would say, objectives.
So it cannot be the same tool.
And I think that for me more globally it's really a really strong signal from a nation like the United States with respect to the Geneva Convention,
upholding the Geneva Convention and saying that we somehow, this nation is as well respecting what are called the rules of war, which is the
international humanitarian law.
PLEITGEN: What are the places right now where you think that help is most necessary and that are not getting that international attention the way
that they should?
LIU: I just returned from South Sudan a few days ago and then for me to say that this is a crisis that is off the media radar right now, there have
been an increasing, I would say, level of violence since spring. When we are working one of the area in Bentiu, we are working in a displace camp
where there used to be 50,000 people. It doubled over the last few months. So we have 100,000 people in the camp, which basically is straining all the
-- I would say the aid services to the population.
They don't have shelter, they don't have enough food, they don't have enough care. And right now we're just at the beginning of the rainy season
and then we are seeing an increasing number of malaria cases.
And basically people today in different, I would say, health care center, they are in shortage of malaria treatment. And now we have children of
dying of a treatable, easily treatable disease because we don't have the line supply for malaria treatment.
That's totally unacceptable. We have, you know, to do all we can do to make sure that it's --
PLEITGEN: You're also quite frustrated about Yemen, aren't you, about the situation?
LIU: It's not about my frustration but it's about the fact that today there's one of the biggest conflicts that is happening right now in terms
of, I would say, the military phase of the conflict. This is one thing.
But in addition to that, we have what I call a bit -- a war of attrition, is basically since we passed the resolution in the U.N. Security Council on
the embargo on the military weapon, the other impact it has was on all the importation of food, fuel and medicine.
And we know that the country is 100 percent dependent on importation for medicine. So right now people are, again, dying of disease that we have
treatment for. They are in renal failure because they don't have the dialysis. They're having hypertensive crisis.
LIU: So the blood bank isn't working anymore because it's been hit. So this is what is going on right now. In Yemen, nobody talks about it.
PLEITGEN: Joanne Liu, thank you for joining the program.
LIU: Thank you very much.
PLEITGEN: And while so many conflicts seem to continue without an end, imagine another world, moving towards a different future. Mozambique
cleans out the conflict woven into its past. That's next.
PLEITGEN: And finally, imagine a world filled with unsung heroes but hidden in plain sight.
The female farmers of Tanzania have long been driving the country forward, occupying three in four agriculture jobs there. Yet the essential
community building and assistance offered by the women has never really been appreciated, that is, until now.
A blockbuster reality TV series called "Female Food Heroes" is now several seasons in. The popular program sets tough tasks for the nation's fearless
female farmers, who have to perform agricultural tasks under 24-hour TV surveillance.
The women also get advice from experts about things like domestic violence and finance and each contestant leaves with gifts of equipment and support
to aid their small farms, while the victor wins around $9,000.
The show is a massive success, with more than 20 million people regularly tuning in. Once ignored, Tanzania's women farmers are now local
celebrities. As they leave the contest, many share the benefits of their experience, empowering other women across the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): When I leave this place in my community, I will teach them about the transformation of women, to know how
to protect their families through knowing how to give back to society and to work hard without depending on men.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: And that's it for our program today. Remember, you can always see all our interviews online at amanpour.com. Thank you for watching.
Goodbye from London.