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Husband of Murdered MP on Combating Hate; Libya's Prime Minister on Fight Against ISIS; ISIS Challenged in Iraq and Libya; Bad Day at Standing Rock. Aired 11-11:30p ET

Aired November 2, 2016 - 23:00   ET



[23:01:07] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, out of tragedy, a strong will rises to combat hate, division and fear. The husband of the

murdered British MP Jo Cox speak to us of her legacy in the most extreme political environment of our time.


BRENDAN COX, HUSBAND OF BRITISH MP JO COX: Community cohesion is under threat. There are some people that are trying to pull communities apart,

trying to divide people and the thing that Joe would care about most of all at the moment is how we stop that. How we bring people back together.


AMANPOUR: Also ahead, ISIS under serious pressure now in Mosul and in Libya. The Libyan prime minister joins me.


FAYEZ AL-SARRAJ, LIBYAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): ISIS has been besieged in a very confined, small area. And I expect that within a week

or so that we will hear good news.


AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program, I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

This time next week, we'll know who the next American president will be and it's been a campaign of unprecedented rancor, reflective of an increasingly

venomous tone around the world.

Just listen.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: She wants to blame everyone else --


NIGEL FARAGE, MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: I know that virtually none of you have ever done a proper job in your lives.


RODRIGO DUTERTE, PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES: Just because you are a journalist, you are not exempted from assassination. If you're a son of a



AMANPOUR: It is not only noxious, rhetorical fumes blowing through politics right now, but there is also outright violence. Political

assassination just doesn't happen in this country, but one week before the referendum on leaving the EU, a 52-year-old man shouting "Britain first"

stabbed and shot a brave, young, idealistic member of parliament, Jo Cox.

There was universal shock, anger and sadness at her death, not least because she stood for all that was positive and hopeful and can-do about


She cared about refugees. She spoke out against fear and loathing and she spoke up for tolerance.


JO COX, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY MP: And as we celebrate our diversity, the thing that surprises me time and time again as I travel around the

constituency is that we are far more united and have far more in common that that which divides us.


AMANPOUR: Now her husband, Brandon Cox, himself an activist and a campaigner is raising their two small children and nurturing her legacy as

he told me here in the studio, determined that her beliefs and her optimism live on.


AMANPOUR: Brandon Cox, welcome to the program.

I want to start by asking you, because you've written about it, and you were in the United States in September and you and your children went to

the White House to meet President Obama.

B. COX: Yes.

AMANPOUR: What was that like?

B. COX: It was very surreal.

The kids know quite a lot about politics. We've always talked to them with our kids, but they're three and five, so they don't know that much about

it, but they are very excited. And then when they went to see him, they've done a series of drawings and they gave him -- they gave him some of those


AMANPOUR: Yes, and you tweeted, didn't you? "The kids and I met Potus today. He was excellent with the kids. We talked about Jo, fighting

extremism, and the kids gave him their best drawings."

B. COX: Yes. And they were, they were very unfazed by it. And actually the president was incredibly good with them. Very warm.

You know, we got some lovely pictures of him hugging the kids (INAUDIBLE). And then on the way out, he even said to me, daddy, that was great. Can we

come again tomorrow?

So I didn't ask. I thought that was probably overstaying our welcome, but it was a great thing to do.

AMANPOUR: Really sweet for them, too. Very special.

B. COX: Yes. And lovely to have that memory. And also, you know, in the Oval Office, we talked about Jo and they told the president about their

mom. And it was a lovely thing.

AMANPOUR: And has the fact that the president called you, that the president received you, that the overwhelming sentiment of love and regret

for their mom -- you can't miss it. Have they been able to absorb that? Has that helped them in this terrible moment of grief?

B. COX: Definitely. The things I've been working with the child psychologist from the beginning of this, because, you know, you never

anticipate something like this happening. And their advice from the beginning has been to show that you're feeling your grief, not to hide

that, but also to try to expose them to other people feeling that grief as well.

And I think often that's hard when somebody dies in your family and the world goes on, but with this, it felt like there was a moment when people

reflected on it. And from the thousands of people in Chalcot Square or the rallies around the world or the thousands of people lining going to the

funeral --


AMANPOUR: Funeral, yes.

B. COX: They had a real sense that their mom was mourn not just by them, but by lots of other people. Of course more intensely by them. But seeing

that grief in other people, I think gave them a sense of solidarity to use a slightly weird word.

AMANPOUR: No, but it's really important for them to understand that she was so important and her work remains so important. So to that end, you

have started a foundation.

Tell me what you hope to achieve with that foundation in regards to the work, the anti-extremism, the sort of tolerance, the welcoming of the other

instead of the banishing of the other.

B. COX: So what we're trying to do is two things really. One is we set up this foundation to take forward some of the things that Jo cared about,

from autism to Syria, loneliness, to women in politics. A very diverse set of things. And that's about not trying to glorify Jo's name, but continue

the work that she cared about.

She doesn't have any ego, Jo, so having lots of people holding pictures of her is a slight weird thing, because that's not why she was in politics.

But taking forward that cause in that way.

And then the second thing that we're trying to do is to really under the more common banner that Jo talked about is the phrase that she used in her

maiden's speech to think about how in this country and in other country, is how we can bring communities together, because we're at this phase, I think

not just in the UK, but really around the world where community cohesion is under threat.

There are some people that are trying to pull communities apart, trying to divide people. And the thing that Joe would care about most of all at the

moment is how we stop that and how we bring people back together.

AMANPOUR: So you wrote in the "New York Times," you said "Political leaders and people generally must embrace the responsibility to speak out

against bigotry, unless the center holds against the insidious creep of extremism. History shows how quickly hatred is normalized."

I know you don't want to put your finger on somebody and blame somebody in particular for your wife's murder, which is what it was, but do you blame

the bitter environment for her death?

B. COX: So the person that killed her was the person that was responsible for her death. Do I think that the environment played a part in making

that action more likely? Yes, I think it probably did.

That's not to suggest that the 52 percent of people that voted for Brexit were in some way involved or complicit. Of course, they weren't. In fact,

you know, probably the people we heard from most were people saying that -- because actually a majority of Jo's constituency voted for Brexit.

And these are not rabidly racist or xenophobic people. They are people who wanted the U.K. to leave the EU. So it's not suggesting that there was any

agency or complicity on their part, but those people who used demonizing language who ramp up hate, that plays into an atmosphere in which crazy

people are more likely to take crazy actions.

AMANPOUR: And I know you were in the United States and you must be very rocked by the tone of the debate there.

B. COX: I think the thing that worries me is that there's a complacency in the political center about how quickly this extreme populism can come


And I think we're seeing it in the U.S. perhaps more clearly than anywhere else at the moment. But we're also seeing it in France with Front

National, in Germany with AfD, in the U.K. with UKIP.

And in each of those circumstances, it is often a charismatic individual who sees his very legitimate grievances from people, whether it was their

economic circumstances or worries about security, they seize those and they say the problem isn't the system, which is complicated and difficult. It's

actually this person that doesn't look like you, or speak like you, or watch the same TV programs as you.

[23:10:00] And that is very simple, it's very attractive, it's very powerful. And it's the thing that drives hatred. And if we're not very

careful about it and don't respond to as I say, very quickly it becomes too late because it becomes normalized and that becomes the discourse.

So I don't think we're there yet. I think I have faith in people, in the U.S., in the forthcoming election. I have faith generally in the wisdom of

grounds, but if we're not careful, even if they don't win elections outright, they will make normal this hatred and this direction of bile

against minority groups, which even if they don't win elections will have far lasting implications.

AMANPOUR: You talked about being on your houseboat together with your wife and discussing these issues. What was conversation like around this? You

both came from activist and campaign backgrounds.

B. COX: Yes. I mean, we mainly talked about Peppa Pig and, you know, whatever the kids will turn that day. So I don't want to suggest that --

AMANPOUR: I just meant between the two of you.

B. COX: Yes, even between the two of us. But, no, we were definitely -- there was definitely a concern I think that we had because we're so

optimistic people. We'd always been in our lives. And Jo was always this sort of bundle of positive energy. And we always had an expectation that

society was moving in the right direction. That, yes, there will be bumps along the way, but things would get progressively better.

And I think, really, just in the last year, maybe year and a half, we started to doubt that. With the coarsening of politics, the rise of

populism across Europe and in the U.S., we started the thing actually is what we're seeing now more like post the 1920s crash, where you had

something fundamentally changed in the context and the beginnings of a dissent away from liberalisms.

AMANPOUR: I mean, you're really talking about one of the worst episodes in modern history, the rise of fascism, the rise of totalitarianism.

B. COX: Yes. And I think the thing to remember with all these things is that's not how it starts, that's how it finishes. So it starts with small

shifts often highly perceptible and over time they become bigger and bigger shifts.

So you start with what sound like relatively anodyne policies, but are trying to -- this sort of dog whistle politics turn groups against each

other. And unless we stop that there, the trajectory you go down continues and it speeds up. And there's momentum in a spiral and politicians who

have stood against it become marginalized and it becomes, you know, for career politicians who just want to get ahead, they're willing to use that

language in a way that perhaps they don't feel it, but they start to use it and then it becomes the consensus.

So I'm still and Jo would still despite everything that happened, I think we would still be optimistic that that is stoppable, but it is only

stoppable if we do something about it.

There is no automatic break in society that stops us going in that direction unless people in the center, in the political center, which is

where I think the vast majority are end their complacency and take action to pull ourselves back together.

AMANPOUR: Brendan Cox, thank you very much indeed for joining us.

B. COX: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: A really important message in this climate. In fact, in any climate. And now we take a moment to mark the international day to end

impunity for crimes against journalists.

The museum in Washington, D.C. is unveiling a banner to support our colleague Austin Tice, who was kidnapped in Syria four years ago.

According to the committee to protect journalists, hostage risks for journalists are on the rise and 36 journalists have been killed so far this


When we come back, ISIS on the run in Iraq and in Libya. The prime minister of that, one of the world's most fractured nations, joins me next.


[23:16:00] AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

Iraqi forces backed by U.S. and allied air power are closing in on Mosul's city and on ISIS. Turns out, Libyan forces backed by U.S. and allied air

power are doing the same to ISIS in Libya. That is where a virulent branch of the group set up shop two years ago.

Libya even more than Iraq is a divided and fractured state. There are three different power centers heavily armed militias answerable to no

central authority, migrants dying on its shores and an economy on the verge of collapse.

Fayez Al-Sarraj, the country's beleaguered, U.N.-backed prime minister joined me here to talk about those incredible challenges.


AMANPOUR: Prime minister, welcome to the program.

AL-SARRAJ: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: Tell me first as all eyes are on Mosul and the global fight to defeat Mosul, to defeat ISIS in Mosul, we also understand that there's a

major battle against ISIS inserted here on the Libyan coast.

How is that going?

AL-SARRAJ (through translator): It is true that one of the biggest challenges that we're facing now is the fight against ISIS and would have

received significant help from the United States of America launching air strikes against ISIS. There has been help from other countries by

intelligence information.

AMANPOUR: How close are you to liberating Sert from ISIS?

AL-SARRAJ (through translator): The truth is it is difficult to announce a specific time to declare the liberation of Sirte, but there has been very

positive developments recently.

ISIS has been besieged in a very confined, small area. And I expect that within a week or so that we could hear good news.

AMANPOUR: Mr. Prime Minister, we understand that your forces are getting help from some of the Misurata militias, but only those more to the West

that even Misurata is divided in a country that is incredibly divided.

You have one country, three centers of power. You head the government of national accord in Tripoli. There's another council in Tripoli, and then

there's the parliament all over here in Tobruk, which is against your government.

How on earth can Libya be brought under any semblance of control, of hope, of stability, when it's so fractured and so divided, all the centers of

power working against each other?

AL-SARRAJ (through translator): As a matter of fact, this is a biggest challenge that confronts these governments of National Accord. There has

been a division even in the military powers on the ground. There is, of course, extremists on all sides. We communicate with them constantly. We

try to eliminate the difficulties. We try to eliminate the political challenges with the parliament. We have problems with the military

leadership, which the problem with the military leadership is that they don't report to the political leadership.

AMANPOUR: To what do you attribute, why do you think ISIS found a home in Libya? And why do you think Libya has become the worst pipeline for

migrants and desperate people seeking to leave that part of the world and come to Europe?

AL-SARRAJ (through translator): ISIS and the terrorist organizations in general always seek the vacuum of power, but it's good vacuum. After 2011,

there was a huge political vacuum in Libya and ISIS found an opportunity to nest in many of the parts of the country.

[23:20:10] I know that the international community has expertise and has a good insight now in fighting ISIS for over the last few years. We will

continue the fight against ISIS everywhere in Libya.

AMANPOUR: But you also have poverty and a failing state, despite being one of the richest countries in the region because of your oil.

AL-SARRAJ (through translator): Let me go back to something about immigration. Illegal immigration and how it is related to terrorism.

Unfortunately, the Libyan shore has become a graveyard through those boats of death that carry immigrants. This issue has to be resolved with the

international community as a whole. I don't believe that the idea of settling immigrants, Libya is an acceptable idea for Libyans, for anyone

else. We must find a solution that depends on developments of the south so that immigrants would stay where they are in the south. And not allow the

Libyan shore to be a crossing point.

AMANPOUR: You mean Sub-Saharan Africa, where they're coming from.

President Obama says one of his biggest regrets and one of the worst missteps of his foreign policy was not following through on Libya after the

removal of Muammar Gaddafi.

What do you think the west should do? What should your partners do? You're here talking to the secretary of state of the United States and

other foreign ministers from Europe, what should they do now?

AL-SARRAJ (through translator): This is actually what happened in 2011 after the topple of the former regime. The international community

abandoned Libya and left Libya in chaos.

The international community has now felt the responsibility again and is trying to combat Libya. So there is a huge responsibility facing the

international community toward Libya.

The international community is providing now is very limited. The international community has to provide more. We need help in many field

such as humanitarian, educational, health care.

One more time, I'm saying that Libyans feel that the international community only cares about fighting terrorism. That's the only issue. But

international community has to provide serious aid to Libya to overcome the difficulty with the humanitarian field or the economical field.

AMANPOUR: Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj, thank you very much for joining us.

AL-SARRAJ: Thank you, Christiane.


AMANPOUR: And next, we go to the United States to imagine where people with an ancient history get a lift from modern technology. That's next.


[23:25:50] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a virtual world rallying to protect the real one. In America, the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline is set

to run across four states shuttling 470,000 barrels of crude oil a day from North Dakota to Illinois.

It was supposed to be finished by the end of this year, but now work is at a standstill at Standing Rock. Environmentalists have flocked to that

Native American reservation in North Dakota to halt construction. They believe the pipeline will ruin sacred grounds of the Sioux Tribe. And risk

contamination of the tribe's main water source, which is the Missouri river.

The Sioux history stretches deep into America's past. But they're finding a new ally in a modern miracle, the Internet. One and a half million

people have checked in to Standing Rock on Facebook with activists calling for millions more to do so.

The police have been cracking down heavily on demonstrators, and they say demonstrators that is, say these virtual check ins will masks their true

activity and identity.

Now President Barack Obama has hinted a potential rerouting of the pipeline, but we'll only know in a few weeks if this is actually possible.

Until then, people across the world are still joining in the Standing Rock protesters. They are there in spirit, cyber spirit that is and also in

real life.

That's it for our program tonight. Remember, you can listen to our podcast, see us online at and follow me on Facebook and

Twitter. Thanks for watching and good-bye from London.