Return to Transcripts main page


Turkey against Escalating Tensions; Brussels Terror Alert; Chicago on Edge over Police Shooting Video; Adele Breaks Single Week Album Sales Record; Kunduz Hospital Mistaken for Taliban Site; "Spymasters" Documentary Features 12 CIA Directors; Pope Francis Arrives in Africa; Design Engineer Tries to Make Air Cleaner; Infant Left in Manger of Nativity Scene. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired November 25, 2015 - 10:00   ET




ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST: Hi, everyone, welcome to the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow at the CNN Center.

Our top story this hour, tensions between Russia and a key NATO member on the rise over Turkey's downing of that Russian warplane.


CURNOW (voice-over): Now Russia's foreign minister says it looks like a planned provocation. And Moscow is now preparing to deploy anti-aircraft


To a base in Northern Syria less than 50 kilometers from the Turkish border, our Matthew Chance tells us about the Kremlin's plan to beef up

airpower in the area.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Russians now saying that all their bomber raids they'll continue but they'll now have

fighter escorts providing a different -- an additional layer I should say of security.

And most importantly, Russia has announced it's deploying these S-400 surface-to-air missiles as well to the region, which will essentially give

it supremacy and control over the airspace in Syria.


CURNOW: Matthew Chance there.


CURNOW (voice-over): Well, Russia's defense ministry says the second pilot has been rescued, this dramatic video showing that. The first is believed

to be dead. Turkman rebels in Syria say they fired on the pilots after they ejected. A Russian marine, who was carrying out a rescue operation,

was also killed.

Well, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey does not want to escalate tensions with Russia but he's determined to defend his country's

borders. Mr. Erdogan says two jets were repeatedly warned not to violate Turkish airspace but one failed to comply.

Moscow insists that Turkish plane that brought down the Russian bomber made no attempt to communicate. Let's bring in our Becky Anderson. She joins

us now from Istanbul.

Hi, there, Becky.

What do you make of Ankara's approach? On the one hand, Turkey saying they don't want to escalate but they're also standing firm that they were right

to shoot.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Well, I guess the question is, Robyn, did Ankara misjudge or was this a message?

And was Russia probing to see what Turkey would do?

Exclusive video obtained by CNN does show the wreckage as we learn more about the circumstances. Now as you rightly pointed out, the Turkish prime

minister has said that two planes, two planes breached Turkish airspace on Tuesday. One left and the other remained, despite repeated warnings, they


And in an act of self-defense, Ankara says, it was shot down. And they go on to say that this is not the first time that this has happened and cite

four instances since Moscow launched its air campaign in Syria that Russian jets have entered Turkish airspace.

Now Barack Obama has expressed U.S.-NATO support for Turkey's right to defend its sovereignty while emphasizing the importance of de-escalating

the situation.

And, for his part, President Erdogan here has said he has no intention of escalating the matter, which is perhaps not surprising, when you consider

that Russia is Turkey's second largest trading partner. It depends on Russia for 60 percent of its natural gas. Russian tourism is enormously

important to this country.

So conciliatory words earlier today from Davutoglu, the prime minister here, when he said Russia is our friend and our neighbor. The idea that

this might escalate is incredibly worrying to everybody here in what is a very, very messy and complicated situation that is the conflict in Syria --


CURNOW: Indeed, you make some interesting points there. Becky Anderson in Istanbul, thank you so much.

If you want to read more about NATO's relationship with Russia and the extraordinary hurdle it's facing right now, just head over to our website.

Our international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson has some in-depth analysis on this latest escalation and how it's complicating any possible

solution in Syria. It's a really great read. Urge you to go to

In the wake of the Paris terror attacks, French intelligence services are looking into possible Islamic radicalization of transit employees. They're

focusing on the city's airports, the national railway service and a Paris bus operator. One of the Paris attackers drove a bus until 2012.

There's also an ongoing investigation at Charles de Gaulle Airport; since January, 50 airport employees have been denied access to restricted areas

because they were suspected of being too radicalized.

Brussels remain on the highest terror alert, at least until next week, but the city is easing lockdown, opening schools and most of the Metro system.

Alexandra Field is in Brussels and joins me now by phone.

Hi, there.

What's the mood like?


ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know the mood has lifted to some extent. People are still expressing some anxiety about the circumstances

in this city. They have been living under this lockdown for four days. But there's also a certain amount of restlessness, a desire to return to

the normal routine.

So while people did have some concerns as they headed back to work and back to school today, they place a lot of trust in authorities, who said they

were extending every effort in securing these facilities so people could return to their routines.

There were hundreds of military personnel, who were in the Metro to protect passengers and assure them they were safe. There were also hundreds of

police officers, who were patrolling around the city on foot as children and students returned to school.

We even visited one school that has hired private security guards with, certainly, the recognition that not everyone would return to school, that

not everyone would return to work.

But it was important that the optics were in place and that the security measures were in place so people could feel more calm and more confident

when they did choose to make those returns -- Robyn.

CURNOW: And what's the status of the investigation?

FIELD: At this point we have heard from the interior minister on Monday that the operation continues to work to ferret out, root out any associates

who may be connected to this cell that plotted the attacks in Paris. We know that this international manhunt continues for Salah Abdeslam. There's

also another man that authorities are now looking for, Mohamed Abrini, and they have released a picture of this man.

He is said to have been driving with Salah Abdeslam just two days before the Paris attacks. They were photographed at a gas station by a camera at

that gas station, driving a car that was later used in the attack. So certainly this is somebody who could have key information for

investigators, it's somebody that they want to find and it's why they have now issued an international arrest warrant for this man -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Alexandra Field there in Brussels, thanks so much for that update.

Tight security in Kenya as Pope Francis arrives for the start of his landmark Africa tour.


CURNOW (voice-over): The Roman Catholic Church is growing rapidly in Africa and some experts say the region is crucial to the church's future.

The pope has planned highly symbolic stops in his itinerary and we'll have a live report from Nairobi a little bit later on in the show.

This is the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Next, long lines, tight security and travel alerts. What U.S. travelers are facing at the start of the long

Thanksgiving weekend.




CURNOW (voice-over): Singing superstar Adele shatters a long-standing record with her latest album.




CURNOW: Hi, there. Welcome back. I'm Robyn Curnow.

Well, there is anger in the U.S. city of Chicago after authorities released a video showing yet another incident of a white police officer shooting an

African American man. There were protests overnight but the violence many feared would erupt never really materialized. Here's CNN's Stephanie Elam

in Chicago with this report.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Demonstrators converged on Chicago streets by the hundreds, outraged over this graphic police dashcam

video, showing Laquan McDonald being shot by a single officer 16 times in October of last year. The disturbing footage shows McDonald falling to the

ground after being shot, then hit multiple times while on the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The officer in this case took a young man's life. And he's going to have to account for his actions.

ELAM (voice-over): The 37-year-old officer, Jason Van Dyke, is charged with first-degree murder and has been taken off the Chicago police payroll.

For now he's being held without bond. Van Dyke's lawyer says his client feared for his life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's truly not a murder case and we feel that we're going to be very successful in defending this case.

ELAM (voice-over): On the night Laquan was fatally shot, investigators say McDonald was wielding a knife with a 3-inch blade, which he allegedly used

to slash the tire of a police car. Police say when McDonald, who had PCP in his system, ignored orders to drop the knife, Van Dyke fired 16 rounds.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Officer Van Dyke was on the scene for less than 30 seconds before he started shooting, in addition to the fact that all

evidence indicates that he began shooting approximately six seconds after getting out of his vehicle.

ELAM (voice-over): City officials had been prepping for mass demonstrations in the wake of the video's release, calling for peaceful


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This opportunity for healing begins now.

ELAM (voice-over): Late Tuesday, dozens locked arms in solidarity, blocking off an intersection and Interstate 94. Officers made some arrests

but tense moments between the crowd and police never escalated out of control.


CURNOW: Stephanie Elam reporting there.

Well, "The New York Times" says Chicago has paid out $500 million in settlements over the past decade, in part, to police misconduct.

Well, the Thanksgiving weekend is starting here in the U.S. with a global travel alert in effect. Passengers are facing long lines and tighter

security at airports. Police armed with rifles and bomb-sniffing dogs are part of the increased security. CNN spoke to travelers at New York's

LaGuardia Airport, who seem to be taking the new measures in stride.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Certainly I think everybody's a little concerned but I also feel like security's been stepped up so much that hopefully we're

well protected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel fine. I feel like if we get scared and don't do it, then they win. So very comfortable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We appreciate the security because I know that it's for our own good.


CURNOW: Well, U.S. air safety officials say they are doubling down on security but stress there's no specific credible threat of an attack.


CURNOW (voice-over): And New York will increase security for the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday. Despite all of the warnings

that people shouldn't worry, fears of an increased attack after ISIS released a video of scenes from New York mixed with images of a suicide


The New York commissioner vows the city's police department will protect the paradegoers. And the mayor says canceling trips to the city would be

giving into the terrorists, which is what they want.


British pop star -- a little bit lighter -- British pop star Adele is riding a huge wave with her latest album. CNN senior media correspondent

Brian Stelter tells us about her latest record-breaking debut.


BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there. I think the best word to describe what's happening with Adele's new album is

"unprecedented." Music industry experts have not seen anything like this in many, many years.



STELTER (voice-over): It really goes to show that Adele is in a league of her own. This new album, "25," of course it came out last Friday' it was

expected to be a hot seller but it is even outperforming some of the rosiest expectations.

After three days, the album was able to sell more than 2.4 million copies. And to put that in perspective, the past record setter, at least in the

modern age of music, was the band NSYNC. Remember them back in 2000? Their album, "No Strings Attached," sold 2.4 million copies but took them a

week to do that. So Adele broke that record in just three days.

Now analysts believe she'll sell 2.8 million or 2.9 million, maybe 3 million copies by the end of her first week.

Of course she continues the promotional tour. The album will continue to sell in the weeks and months to come. But her decision to keep the album

off of streaming services is a big reason why it's selling so well. You can't find it on Spotify or Apple Music or Pandora. You have to actually

buy the album, either online or on a CD as its own piece of media.

Now Adele is one of a small number of artists that can afford to make that decision. Taylor Swift is another one. She did the same thing last year

when she released her album "1989."

The vast majority of musicians are choosing to put their new music onto streaming services. But by going around them, by avoiding them, Adele's

been able to rack up millions of sales.


STELTER: And I have a feeling it's going to continue in the weeks to come. It is truly a special album. And I think especially over the holiday

season is a perfect timing for the release -- back to you.

CURNOW: Brian Stelter, thank you so much. And it is a really great album.

You're at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Still to come, an in-depth look at "The Spymasters of the CIA." The new documentary airs at a critical moment in

the fight against ISIS.





CURNOW: Well, the Pentagon is blaming human and technical errors for a deadly airstrike on a Doctors without Borders hospital in Kunduz,

Afghanistan last month. Now officials say the strike was supposed to hit a nearby compound where Taliban gunmen were believed to be operating.

The top NATO and U.S. commander in Afghanistan took the unusual step of releasing a summary of what investigators found out about the incident.



in the death of 30 staff, patient and assistants and the injury of 37 others.

U.S. Forces Afghanistan is currently working hand-in-hand with MSF to identify the injured and the families of those who lost loved ones, in

order that we may offer appropriate condolences.

Based upon the information learned during the investigation, the report determined that the approximate cause of this tragedy was the direct result

of avoidable human error, compounded by process and equipment failures.


CURNOW: Strong words there.

The Pentagon has already concluded that Doctors without Borders had properly notified the U.S. of the hospital's location.

OK. Moving on. The U.S. cable network Showtime is about to air a documentary that puts the workings of the CIA under a microscope. Take a

look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we hold dear was at risk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were at war.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every lead led nowhere. It was pretty frustrating.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were asked to do some very hard things.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can let these terrorists run or we can try to (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If some future president is going to decide to waterboard, he'd better bring his own bucket.


CURNOW: Well, it's called "Spymasters: The CIA in the Crosshairs," and it includes interviews with all 12 surviving agency directors, including

current spy chief John Brennan.

It's obviously very timely and the filmmaker has talked to some CIA officials about the Paris attacks as well.

Chris Whipple is the writer and co-executive producer of the documentary; he joins us now from our New York studio.

Thanks so much for talking to us.

I mean, obviously your documentary was focused on a post-9/11 world in America but what are the lessons, do you think, learned from 9/11 and now

also from those French attacks?

CHRIS WHIPPLE, FILM WRITER AND PRODUCER: Well, I think one of the primary lessons is that as John McLaughlin, long-time senior CIA official put it,

if you allow terrorists to thrive within a sanctuary, if you don't take them out in the sanctuary, they're going to come here. That was one of the

great lessons of 9/11.

You know we tell the story in our film -- it's a chilling story -- that George Tenet and Cofer Black, the head of the Counterterrorism Center,

really gave the White House specific warnings about imminent attacks from Al Qaeda.

And there was a July 10 meeting, for example, two months before 9/11, when they said that Cofer Black pounded his fist on the table and told the White

House, we have to go in a war footing now.

One of the chilling things about Paris was there was no warning. Unlike 9/11, there really weren't any warnings, which speaks to the

sophistication, I think, of the ISIS operatives.

CURNOW: Sophistication or the simplicity, perhaps, not using technology and the fact that they can go dark.

What does that tell us about how to deal with this new type of threat?

WHIPPLE: Well, I think all the CIA directors -- we talked to all 12 living directors and a fascinating cast of characters. And I think they would all

agree that this is a real problem, that encryption is a real challenge.

And it's not really clear whether they're really going to be able to penetrate some of the walls that the terrorists have put up around their


CURNOW: You also talk about this being a sobering lesson. In fact, that the intelligence agencies can really do little in the faith of this

ruthless enemy, specifically if they have territory. But they can give the politicians and the policymakers some time and space. Discuss that.

WHIPPLE: Yes. That's one of the really sobering lessons that came out of this whole experience, of talking with all of these directors over 18


At the end of the day, as you know John Brennan put it, the best we can do is really create time and space. And Michael Hayden said the same thing.

He points out that, you know, all they can really do is create space for the policymakers to deal with some of the fundamental problems, which

includes the creation of terrorists in the first place.

And if they don't step up and have the imagination to do that, then you get into --


WHIPPLE: -- a cycle, as he put it, where you end up killing people forever.

CURNOW: There's also conversations about what happens after a terror attack, the response and that conversation the U.S. had about balancing

values and safety.

I mean, is there a compromise?

President Obama saying recently that there wasn't.

WHIPPLE: You know Leon Panetta, who was President Obama's first CIA director, I thought, was eloquent on this subject. And he points out that,

after Pearl Harbor, the United States rounded up Japanese Americans and put them into concentration camps. It violated everything that America stands


And he feels that a similar thing happened after 9/11 with the enhanced interrogation program. Other directors would say we had to do it. It was

a necessary evil.

But now, France, I think, is facing some very difficult choices. Francois Hollande said that they would be merciless. And it's going to be a test of

French values in this climate of fear.

CURNOW: OK. Thanks so much, Chris Whipple, looks like it's going to be a fascinating documentary to watch. It's called "Spymasters: The CIA in the

Crosshairs." Thanks for joining us.

WHIPPLE: Thank you so much.


(MUSIC PLAYING) CURNOW (voice-over): Still ahead, Pope Francis starts his official visit to Africa. He's (INAUDIBLE) stops along his visit. A live report from

Nairobi -- that's next.




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


CURNOW (voice-over): Russia's foreign minister says Turkey's downing of a Russian warplane along the Syrian border looks like a planned provocation.

Moscow is deploying anti-aircraft missiles to Northern Syria in response.

But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey does not want to escalate tensions. The Kremlin says one pilot in the crash has been


Brussels is easing its lockdown, opening schools and most of its Metro system. Hundreds of extra police from around Belgium are providing extra

security. Museums and public concert halls are also reopening. Now the city still remains on the highest terror level alert, at least until next


And Pope Francis is starting his official visit to Africa in Kenya. He'll spend three days there before moving onto Uganda and then wrap up his visit

in the capital of the Central African Republic. Security has and will be tight. Religious tension between Muslims and Christians has also caused

conflict in part of the region.


CURNOW: Let's bring in CNN's Robin Kriel in Nairobi to discuss this.

The pope has landed in the last few hours.

What's the mood like? What's it like in Nairobi at the moment?

ROBYN KRIEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The streets, Robyn, were filled with people as his entourage drove past. He was in a very humble Honda

(INAUDIBLE) Honda as opposed to being -- as opposed to his normal Popemobile. Everyone was wondering what vehicle he would drive. People

are very, very excited to see him. But they went about their normal day.

They are currently, according to our journalists on the ground, there were not as many people out to say hello to Obama. Not sure what that means.

The pope reportedly, Robyn, joking on the papal plane about mosquito spray, saying that the only thing he feared in Africa was the mosquitoes.

Cryptically, he would -- he told (INAUDIBLE) only reveal the real reason why he was going to the Central African Republic after his visit there --

it is a three-day tour of Kenya; he arrived ahead of schedule. Currently he's at the state house visiting with Kenyan officials. Then he was given

a 21-gun salute and he will staying at the Vatican ambassador's house in Nairobi this evening.

CURNOW: And Robin, I've seen it, you've seen it, the growth of the Catholic Church in Africa has been staggering and, of course, bucking

international trends, where it is often not so buoyant. Tell us about that and why this is such an important trip.

KRIEL: It's an incredibly important trip, Robyn. The Catholic Church has grown by more than 200 percent since the 1980s.

And, of course Pope Francis, being from what experts say -- from the global south, that he's from Argentina, he's from a country -- a developing

country much like the African countries that he'll be visiting on this tour. He's lived in barrios. He's worked in slums himself. And he's

very, very dedicated to the poor.

And one expert actually, Paul Vallely (ph), who wrote "The Struggle for Catholicism," a book on Pope Francis, told us, he sees the world from the

bottom up and not from the top down. So it's a very different view. He's been very pro-developing countries when he's been nominating his bishops.

So (INAUDIBLE) the nomination that's (INAUDIBLE). So what we could see, what this means in the future is that one day there might be an African

pope because the popes are elected by the cardinals.

CURNOW: Indeed, that's over many Africans but also in terms of this pope, he's not going to stray off message.

You know, those issues around poverty, around the environment, about religious tolerance, he'll stick to that, won't he?

KRIEL: Religious tolerance, yes. And I'm sure in the wake of the Paris attacks, the Mali hotel attack and, indeed, attacks we've seen here in East

Africa, this will be one of the key issues.

We're told, Robyn, that the pope initially did not have Kenya on his list of countries to tour. It was just Uganda and CAR. But in April, when he

was meeting with the bishops, he saw the Garissa attack unfolding on world TV news. He saw students, non-Muslims and Christians, being gunned down by

Al-Shabaab gunmen and that's when he decided that he needed to visit Kenya and talk to religious leaders from all faiths.


KRIEL: He will be meeting with Muslim leaders, he'll be meeting with Hindu leaders. This is not a new thing. He's always been very interested in

religious cohesion and religious tolerance. But it's really going to be, I think, one of the key factors here during his visit.

CURNOW: Robyn Kriel in Nairobi, thanks so much.

Still ahead at the INTERNATIONAL DESK, learning lessons from nature about how to keep the world's air clean. That's in our "Going Green" series

next. Stay with us. You're watching CNN.




CURNOW: Now to our special "Going Green" series. We're going to meet a design engineer, who's trying to make the world's air a little cleaner by

imitating nature. Check it out.



JULIO METRIORI (PH), FOUNDER, ARBOREA (PH) (voice-over): Without photosynthesis there wouldn't be any life on Earth. I'm Julio Metriori

(ph) and I'm a design engineer based in London. And I'm the founder of Arborea (ph).

We develop artificial leaf technologies in order to absorb carbon dioxide, which is the major reason of global warming. The leaf is the first organic

manmade leaf which photosynthesize.

They can perform natural photosynthesis, thanks to the chloroblasts, which I stabilized inside (INAUDIBLE) compound. Basically we are replicating the

process; we are mimicking, with sirick (ph) leaf, leaf technologies.

We have been introducing another technology in order to deliver water through the material to the chloroblasts in order to activate

photosynthesis. It could cover and it could revolutionize the interior worlds. We could use this material that's for the synthetic devices

together with the lighting systems indoor in order to purify the air.

We're also --


METRIORI (PH) (voice-over): -- looking into help solving global warming on a massive scale into the urban environment.

So you can imagine having buildings with these materials in order to create, let's say, a membrane for the building to filtrate the polluted air

outdoor and bring the purified indoor.

Our big vision is to enable carbon neutral cities.

I care about the planet but I care also about the future of humanity. So we are not a (INAUDIBLE) population, carbon dioxide emissions, all these

big problems. And where we are going, there is no bright future at the moment. And I really want to help in this mission.

I believe that every person in this world can do his part. And even a million part (ph) is enough to make a green revolution into our society.

So I really believe that we're all and we should all be green champions in this planet.


CURNOW: Here's a story that's touched many, many people.

A 2-day-old baby is listed in good condition at a New York hospital after he was found in a church nativity scene.


CURNOW (voice-over): A custodian at the church heard a baby crying and then found the boy wrapped in towels, laying in the manger.

His umbilical cord -- sorry, I don't know why I can't say that -- was still attached. A priest at the church waited for the baby -- for authorities to

come. Here's what he had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God has a way of working mysteriously because I believe that when this woman, who came in with this child, saw this creche, this

empty home, this home which will welcome Jesus in just a few short weeks, I believe she found in it a home for her child.

CURNOW (voice-over): Well, the priest says he's hopeful church members will adopt the child. A few couples have already expressed interest.

People think he was just a few hours old when he was left there.


CURNOW: On that note, that does it for us here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow. But don't go anywhere. "WORLD SPORT" with Alex Thomas

is up next.