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Satellite Detected "Heat Flash" in the Air around Russian Airliner; Ending the Centuries-Old Illegal Practice of Female Genital Mutilation; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired November 3, 2015 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: dramatic new evidence on the Russian airliner that crashed in Egypt. A mid-air
explosion is likely before it went down. An expert crash investigator joins me live.
Also ahead: the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation. A special report takes us inside a cutting room in Kenya. But imagine, 137,000 women
right here in the U.K. have had that done to them. A survivor and a victim joins us.
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program, I'm Christiane Amanpour.
What took down Metrojet flight 9268 over Egypt's Sinai Desert this weekend?
Whatever it was happened in an instant. A Pentagon official is telling CNN today that a U.S. military satellite detected a mid-air heat flash while
Russia's Interfax agency says that flight data reveals there was a sudden sound just before the flight disappeared from the sky.
As Egypt began analyzing the black boxes, in an interview with the BBC, President Sisi slammed the accusations of terrorism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABDEL FATTAH EL-SISI, EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT: (through translator): There is a propaganda that it was crashed because of daish. This is one way to nail
the civilian security of Egypt and the image of Egypt.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Well, the United States has also ruled out a missile striking the airliner, leaving the possibility of a mechanical
failure or a bomb on board, perhaps, amidst what is a horrible tragedy for all the victims and their families.
There's been a testy battle to define the narrative ever since the crash. The Russian president, Putin, his office, rejects early speculation about
terrorism as well, saying that it's inappropriate to link the disaster to his bombing campaign in Syria while, from the start, dueling claims about
the state of the plane itself from Egyptian authorities and the operator, Metrojet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER SMIRNOV, DEPUTY GENERAL DIRECTOR, KOGALYMAVIA (through translator): The plane, Airbus A320, is a very reliable plane which has
protection systems that won't let the plane to go into overload even if there were major errors in the pilot's control equipment.
HOSSAM KAMEL, EGYPTIAN CIVIL AVIATION MINISTER (through translator): If the pilot doesn't report any faults on the plane, all that will be carried
out is routine maintenance checks. Up until the crash happened, we were never informed of any faults, nor did we receive any SOS calls.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So what can we make of all these conflicting statements?
Let's cross now to John Goglia, a former member of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, 30 years of experience working in the aviation
industry, and he joins me now from Massachusetts.
Mr. Goglia, welcome to the program.
JOHN GOGLIA, FORMER MEMBER, U.S. NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: Thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR: You have heard all of these competing claims and counterclaims; number one, that the Egyptian authorities are now analyzing the data.
They've ruled out terrorism.
What do you expect to hear next?
And what have you made of all of this politics and claims about the actual crash?
GOGLIA: Well, it's really unfortunate for the world community as well as the families. They have all this misinformation and spin being put on
virtually any, you know, little segments of the investigative process. It's really a tragedy for the people involved here.
You know, the rest of us, we need to take a step back and let the investigators do their job. And it's going to come in two forms. The
recorders are going to give us a lot of data about what happened and, in particular, the last few minutes of flight and the people on the ground
that are looking at the debris are going to follow the same protocol that we've been using for years.
It's been refined to a fine art and they will go through it in great detail. And at the end of the day, we will have a book of facts that will
tell us what happened.
AMANPOUR: So what do you make of what specifically an official from the Pentagon, somebody there, has told CNN, that they, one of their satellites,
a military satellite, detected a heat flash?
What could that be?
What does it mean to you?
GOGLIA: Well, absent the altitude of the flash, we don't know whether it involved --
GOGLIA: -- the airplane at the 33,000- or 32,000-foot mark, wherever the airplane was in altitude.
Or did it occur further down?
You know, we had a similar circumstance with TWA800 back in 1996, where everybody reported the fire but after a long period of time of analysis, we
concluded that the fire occurred at about 8,400 feet.
But the airplane, when the event occurred, was about 13,900 feet. So when the event occurred, nobody saw anything. But when the flash occurred, the
airplane was 4,000 or so feet lower in altitude. There's a timing event here and there's an altitude event.
AMANPOUR: Right -- and we're waiting to know those precise details as you correctly say. And you mention the TWA and I remember when that came down.
And apart from those discrepancies of height and timings that you've just mentioned, there were also a number of conspiracy theories about a missile,
about how it had been shot down.
And obviously, this is one of the things that has complicated and clouded all the discussion and speculation around this Metrojet disaster.
How does the politics around this and the counterclaims complicate the investigator's job?
GOGLIA: Well, you know, pretty much the investigators try to ignore all of this in the U.S. We were very fortunate to have -- be insulated from the
politics. And TWA had a lot of politics swimming around it.
But our investigators, under the law, we were protected and, also, we had members of parliament, you know, our Senate and House, that also made sure
that we were not interfered with. And when you go outside of the Western world, sometimes that's not as clear.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Goglia, you know that there have been a lot of planes, civilian airliners, brought down by attacks and missiles. We had the KAL
years and years ago by the Soviet Union; we've had the Iranian Airbus also in the early '80s; we've had the Lockerbie, there was a bomb on there.
And of course MH17, the Malaysia flight that was brought down, according to investigators, by rebels in Eastern Ukraine, Russian-backed rebels in
You know, is it completely outside the realm of possibility that this could have been a terrorist act, do you think?
GOGLIA: No, it's not completely outside that realm. The missile is a little more difficult to justify, because to get a missile up to hit an
airplane that's traveling at 500 miles an hour or 30,000 feet takes quite an interesting piece of hardware.
We saw it with in the case of the Malaysian airplane, it was a truck- mounted with independent radar guidance all the way to the target.
So the missile's got to be huge, you know, 20 inches in diameter, at least, probably 25 or 30 foot long and it needs to have a guidance system,
independent radar system, feeding it up there.
So this isn't something that you're going to get somebody with a pickup truck out in the desert getting ready to launch it.
Our device on the airplane is a different story. That is possible, given the airplane was loaded in Egypt and it's in an area where there's a lot of
activity, anti-government activity. Somebody could make a concerted effort to get something on the airplane that could cause this kind of event.
The tail clearly separated from the airplane before it hit the ground, in four or five kilometers, is what I see most often in the news reports. So
that tells you that the tail was separated from the airplane a bit of a while before the main body of the airplane struck the ground.
AMANPOUR: Well, that's interesting --
GOGLIA: -- the investigators are going to --
AMANPOUR: -- you mentioned -- sorry to interrupt you but we're running slightly out of time. You mentioned the tail and there us a history with
this tail. It was damaged, that very same one, in 2001 and repaired at that time after it scraped its tail during a landing.
All these years later and all this maintenance later, do you think that has anything to do with it?
Could that have something to do with it?
GOGLIA: It could have something to do with it but looking at the pictures -- and, admittedly, they're not the best in the world, best source of
information -- but, looking at the pictures, it doesn't appear to be a blowout of the aft pressure bulkhead.
But, you know, the investigators will take a good, long look at that but it doesn't appear, based upon the galley area --
GOGLIA: -- the rear area of the airplane, it doesn't appear to have the kind of damage that you would get if the bulkhead blew out before the
airplane hit the ground.
AMANPOUR: Interesting insight.
John Goglia, thank you so much, indeed for joining us tonight.
And when we come back, Britain steps in to enforce its ban on the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation. More than 100 million women
worldwide have been forcibly circumcised like that.
And next we take an unflinching look and we speak with the survivor who's become a major crusader.
But first, two sides of the heart-breaking refugee crisis amidst another rescue attempt off the Greek island of Lesbos. The mayor there now says
there is no more room to bury those refugees who die at sea.
While Sweden, on the other hand, which has taken in the most per capita so far, is now relocating the overflow into this Wild West theme park in its
rural south. We'll be back after this.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
Now one of the most savage assaults on young girls around the world today is female genital mutilation. It is not a religious practice but it is a
centuries' old custom that continues, despite the growing efforts to ban it, including right here in Britain.
The government has now stepped in to enforce a new law that's mandating doctors, nurses and teachers across this country to report any cases they
come across on pain of being fired if they do not report these cases.
Around the world, things are changing but not fast enough since I was with the CNN team in Cairo 20 years ago and our camera woman, Mary Rogers, and
correspondent were able to film the most disturbing and heartbreaking story of one Egyptian girl's story, which we want to show you again tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Nedla is 10 years old. She's excited to be the center of attention, fearful of what might happen next. This
morning she will be circumcised.
Haq Omar is known in Arabic as a "hygienic barber." He circumcises thousands of girls each year, as did his father before him. He doesn't
bother to wash his hands or the child.
A ripped sheet makes a crude bandage around her waist. The family celebrates.
The operation will be quick, without anesthetic.
"Shame on you," chides the barber, "it's finished. Soon you can get up and go play."
Officially, the Egyptian government condemns female genital mutilation but it turns a blind eye to the practice. Studies show 80 percent to 90
percent of lower income girls are circumcised, usually in unhygienic operations that can lead to infection and severe blood loss.
"Daddy, daddy," screams Nedla.
"There is a sin upon all of you."
Nedla's family fears that without circumcision, she'll become sexually promiscuous. It's --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): -- not known why Egyptians traditionally circumcise their daughters. The family believes it's part of Islam but
religious scholars disagree.
It's almost unheard of in other Islamic countries.
"I want you to know, Daddy, that I didn't want to be circumcised and you did it to me," Nedla says.
"Don't be a brat," her grandmother calls.
"It's over," says her father.
"Be brave, Nedla. Be brave."
AMANPOUR: It is tragic, not just what happened to her but the reaction of her family as well. That was back in 1994. And yet, to this day, millions
of girls are illegally circumcised still in Egypt and around the world every single year.
Joining me now here on set is Leyla Hussein, she's a survivor of that practice and she's also an anti-FGM campaigner.
Welcome to the program.
You know, as heartbreaking and as awful to watch as that was and is, is it actually important to put that out on television still today?
LEYLA HUSSEIN, FGM SURVIVOR AND ACTIVIST: I mean, it is obviously extremely upsetting and you can talk about FGM all day, every day, and read
about it, but I think sometimes showing images of what actually happens to these girls, it puts it in perspective.
AMANPOUR: And the terror of that little girl, who actually thought something wonderful was going to happen to her. She'd been told that it
was a party, a celebration.
You yourself are a survivor of this practice.
HUSSEIN: I mean, watching that clip, I mean, it takes me back to my own experience. And I think people need to understand, when that girl
obviously was happy, there's a grooming process, a talk before that, you know, making someone think this is a great idea.
But actually, in theory, she really doesn't know actually what's going to happen. I think that's what happened to my myself and over 140 million
women. There is a grooming process involved in this.
We were led to believe this is actually great for us but actually, in theory, FGM is fundamentally child abuse and it's one of the worst forms of
violence against women and girls. And I think that's how it needs to be approached.
AMANPOUR: And Leyla, it was your mother, who led yours, right?
Your father was away.
HUSSEIN: Absolutely. I mean, it's not just my mother, it's the whole family. The neighbors are involved. You know, extended family members are
So my mom was under this immense pressure, if we didn't have this done, me and my sister, we would be stigmatized. And I remember actually my first
day of school, the girls said, oh, have you had this done?
And I said yes.
And they said, "Oh, we can play with you now."
So I remember, it was actually one of those moments when I thought, oh --
AMANPOUR: -- rite of passage.
HUSSEIN: Oh, absolutely. It's part of your identity.
But, you know, my mom was also a victim of this. You know, this practice, so it's really, it's a very complex issue but obviously we can't also stay
silent on it. It's really important that we use the right language when we talk about that.
AMANPOUR: Well, you have not stayed silent and you've collected tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of signatures; you have forced this
government as well as others to take action against it.
How important is what the government said today, that all doctors, nurses, teachers must report or be fired this week?
HUSSEIN: Absolutely. It's about time people were accountable for this because, again, I always used example when I was pregnant with my daughter,
my scar, my hand, burnt cigar, was actually recorded by my FGM scar was never recorded.
So nobody took the appropriate steps to actually support me as someone who's been through this. So, I think, I absolutely welcome the mandatory
reporting for health professionals to make sure the women and girls who come under their care are protected from this. So it's absolutely
AMANPOUR: I just to want play also a report that we've just received from our Nima Elbagir from Kenya, because it does show that, while the one in
Egypt sort of happened in, as we said, this sort of party, rite of passage way, now, the numbers in Kenya are dropping dramatically.
AMANPOUR: But also it's happening in the shadows, as she found out.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The practice of cutting is often handed down through the same family, through the generations, from mother to
daughter and so on and so on. They think of themselves as being the arbiters of a moral code, not just for these families but for the community
as a whole.
One such family, one such mother-daughter team, today has agreed to meet with us in secret in their home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We are doing it because it is important for us. It's because when girls don't get cut when they are
young, they go after boys while they are still young and we don't want that. We don't want them to get spoiled. That's why we do it.
ELBAGIR: FGM is illegal in Kenya but that doesn't stop it happening. All that happens in practice is that it gets pushed into darkened rooms like
this one. This is where the girls are brought and they're laid down on the floor on plastic sheeting like this.
ELBAGIR: These are the ropes that are used to tie the girls down. These are the razor blades that they cut them with.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): It's not just Kenyan girls that are cut as FGM is known. British girls with family ties to Kenya are also brought here
during their school holidays.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We sit down the girl, someone blindfolds her and lays her down on the ground. Then we cut. We cut three
Then you put the ethanol spirit, you take the ethanol spirit like this and pour it on the wound. The ethanol is a bit painful but it stops bleeding.
We blindfold them and put hands over their mouths; they don't even scream because, if they do, their agemates will despise them. So they hold it
back and endure the pain. They can't make noise because of what other girls might think of them.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): FGM is, of course, as illegal back in Britain as it is here in Kenya but the law in both countries seems powerless in the face
of centuries of this torturous cultural practice -- Nima Elbagir, CNN, Nairobi.
AMANPOUR: So your reaction to that, decreasing but nonetheless still happening.
HUSSEIN: Unfortunately, I mean, I would like to commend Kenya for really being at the forefront in terms of global work in trying to end FGM.
However, we can't also stay silent on the reality, where girls are still being cut. And my concern has always been diaspora girls, taken back to
the -- Kenya and to be cut.
Oh, no, no. We know, we know it happens. And it's really important when tackling FGM that we do -- we don't just focus on one area. I think
diaspora is also a big issue.
AMANPOUR: And we're looking at this map right now, which is basically all over the world where it's happening, the big red blocks, where above 80
percent happens and on and on down there. I mean it's really just something that is incredible.
And I think, really importantly, I want to ask you, you know, many people associate this not just with religion but with the Islamic religion. But
the UNICEF has said that 55 percent of Christians are affected by FGM in a country such as Niger, compared to just 2 percent of Muslims in that
So it's not religion and it's all religions.
HUSSEIN: No, absolutely, it's -- again, it's to make it very clear, FGM is practiced by all religions. Obviously not -- the holy books don't promote
FGM at all but I think somehow FGM was always associated with Islam. And I think because the survivors that spoke out are from Islamic background but
we are very aware, you know, I know personally, as a therapist, I work with women who are Christians, Jewish, non-believers.
So, for me, it's recognizing this, it's not a religious practice, it's a form of -- it's a form of a practice where it's -- the aim to control
women's sexuality, full stop. This is why this happens really.
So I think it would be easy for all of us if we just kept reaching out of this conversation. It just makes it easier and to face and deal with --
AMANPOUR: You brought out, you know, the issue of sexuality. You know, one campaign, campaigner sort of said that, you know, it's a manmade
practice to control women, as you've just said.
Why do they choose our genitals and not our hands and not our legs?
Because they need our hands to cook and clean for them and they need our legs for us to go out and work and make money.
HUSSEIN: Listen, I know who that is, Agnes Pereira (ph) from Kenya, who said this to me years ago, absolutely. There's a reason why our genitals
were specifically targeted.
You know, women are not supposed to have sexual pleasure. Women are not supposed to experiment with their sexuality.
So we need to ask ourselves, why is there such a focus on women's sexuality, not necessarily so much on boys?
So that really is the challenge.
So why does my body have to be controlled or monitored, you know, policed, you know, by the police of morals, I would call, and somehow the history of
my genitals has become an issue for a whole community?
So that really is what I need -- what we need to challenge. And I've always said, as a woman, why do I, if I'm supposed to be the weaker sex,
why do I have to hold the honor of my family?
And my brother, supposedly the stronger sex but, you know, if a man sees a woman's naked neck, he rapes her, he couldn't help himself.
Women need to challenge those attitudes before we deal with -- you know, before FGM or any forms of oppression of women actually ends.
AMANPOUR: We do indeed.
Leyla Hussein, thank you for all the work you do.
HUSSEIN: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR: Thank you for coming on.
And of course, education as well as properly enforced laws are the only way out.
Now the U.S. first lady, Michelle Obama, is in Qatar today on her first stop around the region. And she's taking on many of the cultural myths and
beliefs that block a girl's education.
And next month in Saudi Arabia --
AMANPOUR: -- some women will be able to vote and run for public office for the very first time.
After a break, more firsts: imagine the rare woman, charging first towards a different finish line. Victory against the odds is next.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, unless you're living in a cave somewhere, you must have heard about what Michelle Payne has done.
She's the first female jockey who's won one of the world's most prestigious horse races. But here we're still having a hard time imagining a world
where its taken 155 years for a woman to ride first past that post in Australia's historic Melbourne Cup and that she's only the fourth woman
ever to have competed in the race at all.
Michelle Payne was facing 100:1 odds but the dark horse kicked down the barn doors and broke the sport wide open with her tremendous victory. And
racing has always been in her blood. Eight members of her family have taken to the track before.
And her brother, Stevie, who suffers from Down syndrome, saddled up her horse for her, the Prince of Penzance. And she used her victory lap
afterwards to thank her family and to blast the all-boys' network that's been dominating the game.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE PAYNE, WINNER, THE MELBOURNE CUP: I just can't say how grateful I am today. I just want to say to everyone else, get stuffed, because they
think women aren't strong enough. But we'll just beat the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Indeed, indeed. And full disclosure: I have my own horse in the race.
Well, it's not mine and it's not in the Melbourne Cup just yet. But I'm incredibly chuffed to know that the owners of a 5-year-old chestnut mare
who's won four races so far have called her Amanpour.
Attagirl. That's in Australia.
And that's it for our program tonight. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.