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Anti-Immigration Protests in Germany; Thousands of Refugees Arriving in Greece Daily; Filmmaker's Search for His Brother's Bomber; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired October 19, 2015 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: Germany's refugee policy under pressure. We'll take you live to anti-immigration protests in
Meanwhile, at the front line of the crisis, Greece tries to cope with a surge of new arrivals ahead of winter. I speak to the emergency director
for Human Rights Watch.
Plus, this man has spent nearly three decades searching for his brother's killers, those behind the Lockerbie bombing in 1988. We'll have the
extraordinary story of how his search has found answers.
PLEITGEN: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Fred Pleitgen, in for Christiane all of this week.
It is a river of people, the UNHCR says, and the flow cannot be stopped. Thousands of refugees pushing toward Western Europe are stuck in the
Balkans, sleeping in the cold rain as political leaders spar over how to handle the influx.
Many are hoping to make it to Germany, of course, but Chancellor Angela Merkel is asking for Turkey's help in stemming the tide and offering money
and political concessions in return. But there are signs that animosity towards refugees might be on the rise in Germany.
On Saturday a pro-refugee candidate for mayor in the city of Cologne was stabbed and severely wounded by a man with a right-wing pass. And tonight
there is a major anti-immigration rally underway in Dresden. And our senior international, Atika Shubert, is there.
Atika, first of all, tell me, there has been so much going on in Germany since that stabbing happened on Saturday.
What is the mood like now at that demonstration?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is one of the largest PEGIDA demonstrations we have seen in recent weeks. Remember, it really started
the demonstrations about a year ago and now every Monday they have been able to draw a crowd.
Tonight we're looking at more than 10,000, possibly up to 15,000 PEGIDA protesters here. And their message is very clear. They don't want to see
any more refugees. They don't want immigration coming in here to Germany. They feel that enough is enough.
At the same time that you're seeing the protests over here, you also see those counter rallies, actually making quite a bit of noise, even though
there's several thousand of those anti- PEGIDA demonstrators up here. They are making quite a bit of noise, trying to drown out the sound out of the
There definitely is that split in public opinion here. But what's truly astonishing, rather than the numbers of people coming out is the fact that
PEGIDA and other right-wing groups have been able to come out consistently every Monday to campaign against the refugee policy here.
PLEITGEN: Thank you very much, Atika Shubert there in Dresden in Southeastern Germany at that PEGIDA demonstration.
And all of Germany's warm welcome may be dampened by protests like the one that you saw there in Dresden. Refugees continue to come, despite
worsening sea conditions.
One of the front line states is, of course, Greece, where 7,000 people arrive every day, according to the U.N. That number is showing no signs of
slowing down, even as the weather deteriorates ahead of winter.
My next guest, Peter Bouckaert, is the emergency director for Human Rights Watch. He spent time on Lesbos Island, witnessing first-hand the
conditions the people there are enduring and Peter joins me now live from Geneva.
And, Peter, one of the things that people kept saying is that, once the winter rolls around or comes closer this tide of refugees is going to
But you're seeing something very different, aren't you?
PETER BOUCKAERT, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Yes, all week long we saw boat after boat coming into the island of Lesbos. But conditions are definitely
worsening. This was one of the deadliest weeks off the island of Lesbos. Some 25 people lost their lives, most of them children and babies on these
And conditions will get much worse in the coming weeks and the island is just not prepared to cope with this kind of influx during the winter
PLEITGEN: And, Peter, we're seeing some of the images, some of the videos that you've provided us, of these very emotional and very sad, in many
cases, these scenes.
What are some of the things that you've witnessed, the vulnerabilities of the people, the desperation of the people? Tell us about that.
BOUCKAERT: Well, I was really stunned by the amount of women, pregnant women with babies --
BOUCKAERT: -- and young children who were on these boats. They arrive on the shore. They have to be pulled onshore by a group of Spanish volunteer
lifeguards, who have come from Spain to try to help. And then they lift baby after baby out of these boats.
It's just unimaginable that so many children are making this very dangerous journey across.
And obviously when people reach the shore, there's a lot of elation but oftentimes there's also tragedy. We found people who were in severe states
of hypothermia. We had to treat them on the beach.
Just before I left, a woman even gave birth on the beach to a baby boy, right on the rocks. I haven't seen an ambulance at the beaches, at this
15-mile stretch of beaches where these boat arrive, all week. There's just volunteers from all around the world, who have come to help, to try to
receive these people with a bit of dignity that they really deserve.
PLEITGEN: And you're talking a little bit about there's many women and children. There's also many people, it seems, who you just wouldn't think
would be even able to make a journey like that, people who are disabled.
Tell us a little bit about that, about some of the amazing things that you've seen.
BOUCKAERT: Yes. One day, a large fishing boat came in from Turkey with about 250 refugees and asylum seekers on it. Among them was an elderly man
from Syria, who had lost his leg in a bombing raid by the Syrian government. He was carried just a few meters off the boat and then he was
left there all by himself with his wife, while all the others just continued on their frantic journey to try to reach Western Europe before
the doors closed.
And a group of photographers actually had to carry him all the way up to the road.
PLEITGEN: You're saying these people, they want to reach Western Europe before the doors close and that's why many of them are making this journey
at this time of year, even though, of course, it is, by no means, advisable, even in better weather conditions.
How well informed are they about the actual political situations, about routes that they could potentially take, about the situation, for instance,
in Hungary, but also at borders in Serbia, how bad things are there?
BOUCKAERT: You know, many of these people have no idea what lies ahead. I was in Hungary a few weeks ago and we were driving down the road when we
encountered about a thousand people, just walking from the Hungarian border.
And a group of them asked us, what is the capital of this country and how far away is it?
These people face a very difficult journey. They often end up sleeping day after day out in the open.
But we have to understand where they are coming from: 93 percent of the people arriving in Greece come from just three countries, Syria,
Afghanistan and Iraq. They are fleeing brutal conflict back home, the abuses of the Islamic State and the Taliban and they do have a right to
It's a real tragedy that they have to travel in such dangerous conditions when there's a ferry running between Turkey and Greece, which costs just 20
PLEITGEN: And one of the things that I find interesting is that there is obviously a lot of people in Europe who welcome the refugees. There's
also, however, a lot of people who are afraid and who try to stop them.
And you've seen some people or even heard of some people at sea who actively tried to stop these little boats from coming to Greece.
BOUCKAERT: Absolutely. There are vigilante groups, probably right-wing Greek extremists, who operate on speed boats, dressed in all black, masked,
armed, who go out at sea and take the engines from these boats.
We've had one boat which had been adrift for eight hours. The men had jumped overboard and paddled, swum along the boat to try to push it to
Greece after they and three other boats had been attacked at sea just a few days ago.
PLEITGEN: And, Peter, one of the things that's actually almost inspiring about all of this is that when people are in such desperations, political
rifts, ethnic rifts, religious rifts, there are some things that at least seem to be forgotten for a while.
You have an Israeli doctor working with you. Explain to me a little bit about how that dynamic works with, obviously, all these people coming from
these majority Muslim countries.
BOUCKAERT: You know, it was a very frantic week, trying to help people in these extreme situations. But one of the most beautiful moments was when a
group of children arrived on the beach. And they actually went to go play in the water with one of the Israeli doctors, splashing each other.
You know, she's one of the many volunteers, who have come out to try to help. And I know that she has saved a lot of lives on these beaches.
I think one of the most amazing parts of what I saw in the last week is that not a single Syrian or Iraqi who arrived on these boats questioned her
presence there on the shore to try to help them, despite all of the venom going on in the Middle East. She was welcomed --
BOUCKAERT: -- and many people were very grateful for the role she played in saving lives.
PLEITGEN: Really quick because we don't have too much time left.
How do you think this goes on?
Is the flood of people, is it going to get less over winter months?
Is there an end in sight?
How does this continue?
BOUCKAERT: Well, I pray there will be a slowdown over the winter because Greece is just not equipped to try to welcome these people during the
We are ready -- the volunteers were already struggling to treat the people for hypothermia and other conditions when they arrived.
But if the temperatures drop, the kind of blankets that we have to try to help people are just not sufficient. We're really facing a crisis and it's
important that Europe wakes up to the reality that these people will keep coming and that we have to focus on saving their lives and treating them
with the dignity that they deserve.
PLEITGEN: Peter Bouckaert, thank you very much for joining us there live from Geneva.
And after a break, pursuing justice for a lost loved one, 27 years since the Lockerbie bombing. A victim's brother continues the search for those
responsible. That's coming up next.
PLEITGEN: Welcome back to the program.
Justice delayed but maybe not justice denied. When Scottish investigators identified two Libyans on Friday in the 1988 Lockerbie airplane bombing,
many thought, why is this happening now?
The answer is this man, Ken Dornstein. His brother, David, was killed on Pan Am Flight 103 and for nearly three decades the filmmaker has been
searching for answers.
Only one person was ever convicted for the attack, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who was released on humanitarian grounds in 2012 and died shortly after
that. But Dornstein knew Megrahi couldn't have possibly acted alone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEN DORNSTEIN, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER (voice-over): The only person ever convicted of the bombing of Flight 103, the murder of your daughter, my
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- the Lockerbie bomber, home --
DORNSTEIN (voice-over): -- and watching him go free, live on television.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it a dying man or mass murderer set free.?
DORNSTEIN (voice-over): I'm asking myself, is the murderer getting away?
And how far would I go to find out whether he is who he seems to be?
And I guess what I was thinking was, maybe you could show up in Libya.
And maybe it would be possible to get an answer for once.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: That was a clip from "My Brother's Bomber," a new documentary from "Frontline," the PBS investigative series.
And Ken Dornstein joins me live from Massachusetts.
Ken, thank you so much for being on the program.
And seeing this film, you could see that it was, in part, about finding the people behind this but this also seemed to me to be sort of your way of
trying to cope with that loss over the years.
How did that drive you?
DORNSTEIN: Yes. Obviously the case had been unresolved for years. I think even the original investigators who worked on the case felt the sense
of frustration that they had only been able to convict one person. They had many other people in their sights.
And I, as a family member -- and --
DORNSTEIN: -- I know many of the families affected felt unresolved about the case and then Megrahi was let go, as you saw in that clip.
And it felt to us, most of us, that there wasn't much we could do about it. The FBI and the Scottish officials had said it was an ongoing case and we
trusted that they were working on it.
But I felt, as a filmmaker and as someone who had worked on a number of international projects for "Frontline," that the Arab Spring revolution and
the moment when Gadhafi was finally teetering, that there was an opportunity there, and there was an opportunity to take some of where the
original investigation had left off and to advance it on the ground in Libya.
So that's really what I did.
PLEITGEN: You went to Libya but you also went to Berlin, for instance, and you got a list of suspects.
But one of the main guys seemed to meet a bombmaker who was connected to the 1986 bombing of the Disco Label which of course killed -- I think it
was two U.S. Service members.
I want to play a clip really quick from that part of the documentary. Let's listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DORNSTEIN (voice-over): I walked the original Lockerbie investigators through the trails that led me to the Libyan bomb expert.
DORNSTEIN: And Masud, Abu Agila, passport number 835004, it's the same as these Stasi documents.
So Megrahi is traveling twice before Lockerbie with the bomb expert from Label Disco.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's pretty interesting. Would have been great to have known all that. That's amazing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: The Stasi is, of course, the former East German intelligence service.
How difficult was it to find this guy and to pinpoint that he had been part of it?
DORNSTEIN: Well, there are tens of thousands of pages of trial transcript, declassified documents, of papers of various sorts. And this person's
name, the name of this bomb expert, Abu Agila Masud, was one of hundreds of names that was in those papers.
But over time, the more you read it, the more I felt like, if I could figure out who he was, because he seemed to be in the right place at the
right time, then I could establish something new and significant about who bombed the plane and why.
And ultimately did I make a connection, as you saw in that clip, to another bombing that was carried out against the West and the U.S. in Germany. And
in that case, there was a Libyan, who was part of that bombing, who confessed.
And in that confession, he named this bombmaker. And there was a match between the passport number that the Stasi had found and the passport
number that was in the Lockerbie documents.
And once I knew that, I knew that I had something. And then it was a matter of taking this person, who existed as only a name on a piece of
paper and a passport number and even a fingerprint on a landing card of his that he filled out on his way in and out of Malta at different times.
How could I make that a flesh-and-blood person?
And ultimately I got information from the same witness in Berlin that that person was alive and that person was in Libya and that person was currently
in a Libyan jail, also on charges of bombmaking.
And through an extraordinary set of circumstances, which you see in the "Frontline" film, I actually proved that he not only exists but where he is
and come close to establishing what I had hoped to establish, which is his role in the Lockerbie bombing and a number of other international cases.
PLEITGEN: I was in Libya shortly after Gadhafi was ousted from power. And it was just absolute chaos.
And you still went there. I mean, it was dangerous, it was chaotic, it was a country that had just fallen apart.
I want to play another clip from the documentary, showing how it was for you to work in Libya, because it's absolutely fascinating. Let's have a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Everybody has a militia and everybody is ruling the neighborhood and everybody's doing whatever the hell they want.
There's no central authority. There's no clarity of who is in charge.
There's a warehouse in Tripoli, where you can go and you pay a certain fee at the door. And you go into this warehouse, where there are piles of
official papers. Some of them are completely insignificant. Some of them are significant. And you go in there and you dig through whatever paper
DORNSTEIN (voice-over): I never found the warehouse selling documents that had anything to do with Lockerbie. But I still looked through every paper
I could find that might offer a clue about the suspected bombmaker I was looking for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: Seeing you in that massive archive, that doesn't seem to have anything like any sort of order in it, how difficult was it to find any
And how dangerous was it being in Tripoli at that time?
DORNSTEIN: Well, I think the whole project probably made either people smile or cringe when they knew I was taking it on because there was nothing
-- there was nothing easy about slipping over the Tunisian border into Libya and trying to find terrorists, essentially, and trying to find
DORNSTEIN: -- of an act that had been -- that was 25-plus years old and that the regime had had a large stake in trying to conceal.
And there's -- anyone who has done this kind of reporting knows that there aren't -- there are more disappointments than breakthroughs.
But it was a moment there and there was a window there, where the risk, it seemed, could be managed and where the prospect of learning something new
about the case seemed solid enough that it was worth doing the trip.
And I had some people around me, who had experience with that and there were people on the ground, Libyans who I encountered, some who were family
members of the people I was looking for, who opened their doors to me.
And people always wonder, well, why do people speak when the idea of their involvement in mass murder is on the table?
And I think that's why, as a documentary filmmaker, you go out, why you leave your home and why you show up other places because you don't know
until you knock on that door who might answer what they might tell you.
And I do think it's worth -- if you can manage the risk, it's worth showing up. And you can advance things and you can advance your understanding if
you show up in the right spirit.
And I'm grateful to an enormous number of Libyans, who did open their doors and did try to tell me what they knew of the truth and lead me, one step by
one step, you know, incrementally toward what I think, you now, is the truth of who did it and why.
PLEITGEN: There's two people who are key in your film. One of them is of course, Abdullah Senussi, who's the former intelligence chief of Gadhafi.
He's in jail. He's up for execution probably by a Misrata militia that's governing that part of Libya.
And then you have Abu Agila, who seems a much more covert person, the person that it really took a long time to find.
Do you feel an urge to go to Libya again and to confront this man?
DORNSTEIN: There's always a kind of -- when you've been after something for a long time, you can't help but feel tempted by that. You know, I
think of "Moby Dick" and the white whale and the captain who was driven, you know, to get him.
And Masud, the man you mentioned, he was essentially my white whale. I wanted to prove he existed. I wanted to come face to face with him and put
the question to him.
Were you the bomb expert in the Lockerbie case?
And have him tell me the story. I came close to that. There are offers still on the table to go to a Libyan jail.
I mean, I think, at this point, that I'm really gratified that we're at a point where people are even talking about it, where it seems that the
Scottish and American governments are working toward that, having that moment for themselves and speaking to him and maybe even entering a formal
judicial process that involves him. And I want to see that go forward.
I think the role for a brother, a filmmaker, you know, a citizen, maybe, stops at a certain point. And I think there are things that states can do,
that governments can do that individuals can't. And I'm hoping that this is a moment where that kicks in.
And then I'll be waiting and watching as closely as anyone to see what happens next.
PLEITGEN: So we started this interview by me asking what drove you to make the film.
And the final question has to be, has that urge been satisfied?
Do you -- does your family, do they have closure now that you found these out, that you've made the film, that you've gone through all of this for so
DORNSTEIN: I think -- and I obviously don't speak for the other families. I think it's a loss that sticks with you for as long as you live. I think
there's a part of it that you don't get over and a part that you don't want to get over because it's the part about the person you loved and you want
to hold onto that part.
I think to the extent that it involves an active search on my part to come face to face with these men and to establish something true -- I mean, one
of the frustrating things about the case is that very little was established that few dispute. No one ever confessed.
And at the moment I went to Libya, no one was even in jail. So I think -- I hope to have moved it on beyond that point. I feel like there were
questions that were significant enough for me to go to Libya three times. I don't have those questions anymore. But I would still like to see -- I'd
still like to see it go forward.
I just don't know that I'll be the one doing it. But and I do think that, you know, professionally there will be other topics and there'll be other
films. This one, for me, I think, is now in the hands of the FBI and the U.S. attorneys and the Scottish officials on their side to see if they can
take what I developed and take it to the next step.
PLEITGEN: Ken Dornstein, thank you very much for joining us today.
DORNSTEIN: Thank you.
PLEITGEN: And when we come back, a reprieve and a refuge for those in need. Imagine a world where people --
PLEITGEN: -- living on the streets are taken in by some British footballers, checking in to a hotel for the homeless. That's coming up
PLEITGEN: And finally tonight, we've seen nations close their borders to those in need but imagine a world opening its doors.
Once the Manchester Stock Exchange, this building has traded city workers for the city's homeless, becoming an impromptu shelter, thanks to two
The new owners are former Manchester United greats, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs. They originally wanted to revamp the old exchange into a high-class
hotel. That project took an unexpected turn over the weekend. Homeless housing activists known as Manchester Angels occupied and began squatting
in the vacant site.
Local authorities ordered the group to leave the premises but, in a last- ditch effort, one of them contacted Gary Neville directly and was unexpectedly told they could all stay in the site until February, the
owners giving refuge to the 30 squatters through the cold winter months.
The group says the footballers are saving lives and that they will turn the short-term safe haven into a hub, where others sleeping in the rough can
And that's it for our program tonight. Remember you can always see all our interviews at amanpour.com. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.