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Iraq Troops Retake Mosul Museum and Government Buildings; Thousands Flee Western Mosul; Save the Children Report on Child Trauma in Syria; Trump's Troubling Business Partners; A Late Revival for Composer Franz Liszt. Aired 2-2:30p
Aired March 7, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:14] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, another step closer to defeating ISIS in Iraq as troops retake key sites in Mosul. We get a live
report from the ground.
Also ahead, toxic stress. The debilitating mental toll that war takes on children. Save the Children U.S. CEO Carolyn Miles joins us.
And we speak to the journalist whose new report ties a Donald Trump business in Russia's backyard to Iran's Revolutionary Guard.
Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Today, the U.S.-backed Iraqi forces have made major moves against ISIS in Mosul. Retaking the strategic government building, the central bank, and
the famous antiquities museum. You'll remember these shocking images shortly after ISIS captured Mosul. It took sledgehammers to pries
century's old statues and sculptors.
Well, today, Iran's army has made these extraordinary underground discoveries finding ancient panels and paintings in the walls of secret
escape tunnels that were dug by ISIS. But as the fighting rages on, so does the search for survival.
More than 60,000 people have fled Mosul in just the past few weeks alone. And CNN's Ben Wedeman has reported extensively on the human toll of the
battle to oust ISIS, and he's joining us now from nearby Erbil.
Ben, thanks for joining us. Tell me first how significant the recapture of the, you know, of the government building.
What does this mean for the fight?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it certainly brings the Iraqi forces much closer to the old city, where it's believed
that ISIS is really dug in, ready for a last stand, so to speak. Taking advantage, full advantage, of the narrow streets and alleyways in that part
of the city.
Symbolically, it's very important, because this was really the head -- the heart of the Iraqi government in Mosul and retaking that museum as well
certainly brings back into Iraqi hands, something that was a bit of a shock for the people of Mosul, the people of Iraq when it happened
Now, we did see that Haider Al-Abadi, the Iraqi prime minister made a surprise visit to the troops up in Mosul, and while he was there, he said
that -- or rather he sent out a message to ISIS fighters. He said surrender and we will give you a fair trial, but if you don't, we will kill
Now, as this fighting in Mosul continues, and it's been intense. It appears to be more intense than the fighting in the eastern part of the
city when we've been up near the front lines. We've seen a lot of aircraft overhead, including American B52s. But because of the intensity of the
fighting, we're seeing huge numbers of people fleeing the city. We spoke to an Iraqi official in Baghdad who said it's now more than 62,000 who have
fled in two and a half weeks.
And just the other day, we got a chance to see how these people are fleeing the city.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WEDEMAN: As they leave, they pass the austere symbols and slogans of the so-called Islamic state. Down the road at the main assembly point, truck
after truck arrives with the weary and the shell-shocked, children scared and disoriented in the confusion. Others need help every step of the way.
While soldiers search for the parents of lost children.
"We left at night at 2:00," says Muhammad adding that ISIS snipers fired at his family as they left.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Ben, do you think the authorities there have a sort of a handle on all these civilian -- well, the by-product, if you like. I mean,
they're alive. They are safe. They just want to get out of ISIS's way.
Is there the wherewithal to keep them housed, fed, sheltered?
WEDEMAN: It depends how long this goes on and how many more come. The United Nations said they anticipated around 250,000. And this is sort of
the numbers that have been coming from Mosul, have been higher on a daily basis than anyone expected.
[23:05:00] Some of the camps that were just open are already full. And so it's a struggle. It's a struggle that's made worse by the fact that it's
still winter here in Northern Iraq. It can be very rainy. And it seems that everybody is making a good effort, including the Iraqi government,
which if you recall last summer when they took Fallujah, they were overwhelmed. And they learned a lot of lessons from that, from the
humanitarian disaster that was the Fallujah battle. They seemed to have learned them, but the numbers as I said are posing quite a challenge.
AMANPOUR: And Ben, by the same token, ISIS has learned a lot of ugly lessons. You visited a hospital. And there appears, according to the
doctor, the head of the hospital who you talked to, no doubt he says 100 percent certain that ISIS had been using chemical weapons.
WEDEMAN: Yes. This was a rocket that was fired from the western part of Mosul across the Tigris into the east. Just one rocket. It landed in a
residential neighborhood, and the people we spoke to talked -- spoke about a very strong smell, a bizarre, oily black substance and burning on their
skin and their lungs, difficulty with breathing.
Now, the doctor at this hospital here in Erbil said that yes, it appeared to be 100 percent certain that it was a chemical attack. He said that U.S.
medics told them, and we've -- we haven't yet been able to confirm it, but he said that it was mustard gas. And it's believed that ISIS has been able
to loot mustard gas or its components from Syrian army bases and bring them here to Iraq and use them in Mosul.
AMANPOUR: Well, that is really very troubling development.
Ben, thank you so much for being with us from Erbil tonight.
And now from Iraq to Syria. Some of the most tragic victims of war are also the smallest. Today, Save the Children released a report cataloging
the devastating mental trauma that's endured by Syrian children during this now more than five year civil war. They're calling it toxic stress. And
joining us now the head of Save the Children U.S., Carolyn Miles.
Welcome to the program, Carolyn. Tell me this is the first time such a wide ranging study of children have been done in the war zone.
What did you find? What is the key take away?
CAROLYN MILES, HEAD, SAVE THE CHILDREN U.S.: Well, that's right. This is the first time we've done this broad of a study. We interviewed over 450
children and their parents to understand what has been happening to kids in terms of the psychological stress. We often think of the things that kids
need in terms of food and shelter. And of course they do need those things, but also what we're finding as this war actually in this next week
will hit six years of the civil war in Syria, and this idea of toxic stress, this issue of toxic stress which is these things that children are
seeing day after day after day, and constantly living in this world of fear is really what's having a huge impact on kids, whether it's -- you know,
they aren't able to sleep at night.
They are -- if they are young, they're wetting the bed. If they're older, they have thoughts of suicide actually attempting suicide. I mean, there
are really these horrendous issues that are facing children and particularly the mental issues.
AMANPOUR: And you called it a tipping point is near. What does that mean if you talk about in a sociological context?
MILES: Well, talking to experts on this issue, you know, if you continue and there are 3 million children who actually have been born since the
beginning of the civil war, inside Syria. So these are kids who have never known anything but this horrendous war. And there is a tipping point at
which the damage to children becomes so great and the psychological damage to children becomes to great that it's very hard to kind of pull them back
from that brink, and that's where we think we are right now.
We are seeing more and more evidence among the children that we serve inside Syria of that breaking point. A little boy, for example, who is
featured in this report, Saeed (ph), who has seen several of his friends killed in front of him, and his father said for now a year he has not been
able to sleep at night. He wakes up screaming in the middle of the night. So these are the kinds of effects that we're extremely worried about for
AMANPOUR: There's that. There's the fear and the other, you know, side effects you delineated, but there's an even worse and darker side, if I
You know, we've got reports certainly from our own Arwa Damon. She went back to east Mosul where, you know, the government has now taken it back.
Schools are reopening.
And she went through -- one boy told her, they -- ISIS -- "put knives in our hands and taught us how to slaughter."
[23:10:14] And then you've got my colleague Anthony Loyd from the "Sunday Times" was talking to kids. You know, one kid was so traumatized from
everything he had seen, his parents say a four-year-old boy who wants to behead people.
I mean, how do you --
AMANPOUR: Have you -- did you come across that kind of results in your study?
MILES: We did. We have seen that kind of effect in the programs that we do, one of the things that we're doing with children to try to get them to
be able to deal with some of this trauma. They use art and they use drawing. And one of the things that you see in these drawings that's heart
breaking is children are drawing pictures of people being killed and tanks and bombs.
And that's actually a phase that you need to get children through to kind of get those issues out, and then get the counseling that they need to deal
with those issues, and you do see some horrendous things that children not only tell you but they draw for you and they show you. And those are the
things we have to deal with.
AMANPOUR: Yes, deal with but how. You know, there are probably scant resources. The head of, say, the Children International has called for,
you know, rules or agreements to stop bombarding civilian areas and to get more of the psychological help they need. But even in our own communities,
even in the rich West, mental health is left as an afterthought and is lagging.
How on earth, realistically, are you going to be able to get to these kids who have been experiencing it for all their young lives?
MILES: Yes. Well, of course the first thing, and what Save the Children is calling for is an end to the bombing and the shelling and the war on
children which is what we would say that this is. And so that's the way to really get to solve this issue, but in the meantime there are things that
you can do.
There are programs that we're working on. We call it psychological first aide. Our people are trained in that and they are able to offer a lot of
help. And, you know, kids are incredibly resilient, but there are more and more of these children that are not able to get over these issues. And
that's what we're really worried about and why we talk about this as a tipping point.
AMANPOUR: So you say your people are trained, but how are they getting to them? Are they already in Syria. And actually.
MILES: They are.
AMANPOUR: .how did you get these 450 case studies?
MILES: So working through our partners on the ground, local partners, the Syria relief and other partners that we worked with for years and years,
that's -- those are the ways in which we were able to get the interviews.
Save the Children has been supporting those local partners. Those are the ones who are able to get in on the ground and actually deliver services to
children. And that's what we've been doing for the last few years.
Obviously, we're also serving refugees in the five countries surrounding Syria who have their own sets of issues, particularly mental health issues,
but at least there you're dealing more with the post-traumatic issues, not the in the heat of the battle, if you will, issues.
AMANPOUR: These poor children in all our societies will be paying this human cost for many, many years to come.
Carolyn Miles, thank you so much, the head of Save the Children USA.
Now fallout continues from the Trump ban from now six Muslim countries. Critics say even this revised version will no doubt result in a backlash
towards Americans traveling to those countries.
And how about this immediate aftertaste. Tour companies from across the world say interest in travel to the United States took a dive after the
first ban, threatening U.S. jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in tourism spending.
After a break, an indecent proposal? We dig in to a report that discovered a link between the Trump organization and Iran's revolutionary guards.
[23:15:47] AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program. It is the Achilles' heel that won't be healed.
The American foreign policy veteran and former Republican Robert Kagan warned Republicans are becoming Russia's accomplices. He says that in "The
Washington Post" today by obstructing an immediate thorough investigation of Russian interference in the American election.
And WikiLeaks is being criticized for, quote, "playing into Russia's hands," posting documents that it claims are software tools used by the CIA
to hack smartphones, computers and other devices.
Now, all this as questions about Donald Trump, Russia, and what's in his tax and business records, simply won't go away.
For example, what was Ivanka Trump doing in Azerbaijan in 2014 and posting this on her Facebook?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVANKA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S DAUGHTER: A very long flight, but I'm here in Baku, Azerbaijan. Check it out. View from my balcony, the Flame Towers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Well, "The New Yorker" magazine has published an extraordinary new story about Iran's Revolutionary Guard and a Trump organization project
in Azerbaijan, Russia's backyard that the magazine calls "Trump's worst deal."
And the writer is Adam Davidson, who joins me from New York.
Adam, this is truly an extraordinary story. First and foremost, what drew you to it? How did you even, you know, find the sort of the links that
took you to this story?
ADAM DAVIDSON, WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: Well, I was interested in digging more into some of these deals that Donald Trump has around the world, and
it's some rich hunting ground. I mean, he has a deal in Indonesia with a very colorful character, shall we say. A deal in Georgia with some people
very close to the former president. Deals in Uruguay and Brazil and elsewhere that were -- raised some interesting issues.
But when I started to dig a little bit into this Baku, Azerbaijan deal, I thought all right this is the one I'm going to spend the next few months on
because it's such rich material for an investigative piece.
AMANPOUR: Well, what was -- sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt you. What was the richest -- for me, I can't get Iran Revolutionary Guards, those
three words out of my mind.
DAVIDSON: To be honest, when I tell the story to other people, I sometimes feel as if I'm making it up, although as you know it's very well-documented
in the story.
We worked very, very hard to make sure we had the facts solid. And I should say we don't have evidence that Donald Trump directly worked with
the Revolutionary Guard, but he is one short step away.
He partnered with a man named -- well, with the Mammadov family in Azerbaijan, which is known to be one of the most corrupt families in one of
the most corrupt countries in the world.
And while he was working with them, they were -- had a very lucrative business arrangement with what seems almost certain to be a front company
for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. We don't know that money flowed from the Revolutionary Guard to Donald Trump, but that certainly was a major
source of money for these Mammadov right when they were paying Trump millions of dollars.
AMANPOUR: It's extraordinary, because, I mean, let's just take the whole Revolutionary Guard thing.
First of all, Donald Trump has made Iran a key national security priority. He's obviously put it on the travel ban, but also the revolutionary guard
are sanctioned by the United States because of all sorts of things, including allegations of state sponsor of terrorism.
I mean, were there red flags? Weren't there due diligence? What could even bring a Trump organization, an American organization anywhere close to
something that smells this bad?
DAVIDSON: It is shocking. It is -- I still don't understand it even though I've spent the last four months trying to understand it, working
with some people at the Trump organization who tried to explain it to me.
The information about Trump's partner, the Mammadov family and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard has been public since the WikiLeaks cable film in 2010.
The Trump organization signed the deal with the Mammadov family in 2012.
So for two years, this information was out there. And I talked to lots and lots of people who said companies in America just don't go near deals like
this. They would never go near a partner who has close ties to the Revolutionary Guard. It's purely toxic from just a selfish, greed
standpoint. You stand the risk of sanctions violations, of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations. You could lose hundreds of millions of dollars.
You could go to jail.
So it is to me to this day such a puzzle that the Trump organization was set up in such a way they would take this crazy risk.
AMANPOUR: Can I just -- you know, obviously, I have to ask you. Did you reach out to them? And you did. You've got, quote, in your article, from
Alan Garten, who is the organization's lawyer. And this is what he said about their obligations in the Baku Hotel, which we're talking about now.
"We didn't own it. We had no equity. We didn't control the project. The flow of funds is in the wrong direction. We did not pay any money to
anyone. Therefore, it cannot be a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act."
DAVIDSON: That is Alan's strong belief. I actually talked to him on the phone right before I came on your show. And he reiterated that strong
belief. It isn't a belief shared by any of the other lawyers I spoke with about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The law is very clear.
Providing anything of value to a corrupt foreign official as part of a corrupt arrangement violates the law. And they clearly did provide things
of value. They've provided advice, guidance, their brand, their name. They didn't provide money as far as we know, but they did provide lots of
AMANPOUR: And we've shown the Ivanka Trump Facebook posting when she was there in Baku in 2014. Does that mean she was part of the business
outreach? Does she have something to do with furthering this business deal?
DAVIDSON: She oversaw it. I mean, by her own description, she oversaw it from its inception. The Azerbaijanis involved told me that she had to
approve even the most minute detail all the way to the biggest detail. This was very much her project from soup to nuts. She ran the whole thing.
And either she decided not to know about this Revolutionary Guard connection, or she was protected from that knowledge by her staff or
something, I don't know why. You just Google the name Mammadov, Azerbaijan, and all you see is Revolutionary Guard.
Your friend of mine, Khadija Ismayilova, did some great -- her team did some great reporting that made this public in 2013.
AMANPOUR: Well, yes. She's the famous Azerbaijan journalist who was actually put in prison by members of the ruling elite for trying to uncover
Just a quick thing. First of all, the picture of the building that they apparently was going to be a Trump Tower is in a very odd location. We see
it. Is that correct? Was it going to be the Trump Tower?
DAVIDSON: Yes. It was going to be called Trump Tower Baku, and it's supposed to be the most ultra luxury property, but it's in -- it's in this
crazy part of Baku. Baku has a very thin part of it, which is extremely luxurious. But the Trump Tower was going to be miles from there, along
some trucks in an area with strip malls just -- and highway overpasses. I mean, just not a place that makes any business sense which is part of the
argument that this was thoroughly corrupt.
AMANPOUR: I just don't get it, especially if Ivanka Trump was overseeing it. I mean, she must have known where this building was being put up. I
mean, way away from her hotel where she posted that Facebook thing.
What is -- what are the consequences if this is further investigated? If - - I don't know, American legal procedures are really -- take a look at this.
DAVIDSON: I mean, I personally would -- and so would some politicians I've spoken with, Senator Sherrod Brown, for example in the U.S., would love to
have a real investigation. Not just of this deal. There are dozens of deals that are quite similar. I was told by the Trump organization, the
due diligence such as it is that they applied in this case was standard for the company.
That means there are probably red flags all over the world. And what is most troubling to me from a national security standpoint is if there was
wrong doing, the Mammadovs, this very corrupt family, the Revolutionary Guard of Iran might have compromising information on Ivanka Trump, on
Donald Trump, on the Trump organization.
Do they have that information? Can they exploit it for their own ends? I think we need to know that.
AMANPOUR: Adam Davidson, an incredible story. Thanks for joining us tonight.
DAVIDSON: Thank you so much.
AMANPOUR: And next up, we imagine a forgotten chorus rising from the dead listening to Liszt. An opera left behind by one of Hungary's greatest
composers 170 years ago. It's now being heard for the first time -- next.
[23:27:00] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, we imagine music hidden in time and shorthand. 19th century Hungarian composer Franz Liszt was known for
his diverse and prolific works, but he had steered clear of opera with only one short composition ever taking the stage while another known as
"Sardanapalus" was lost to the ages. Now 170 years later, it's being revealed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: It was fragmented and written in code in 1849. It was then entombed in a Weimar archive for almost two centuries before it Cambridge
academic David Trippett found it and they spent two years analyzing the music to figure out Liszt cipher.
Trippett said that he had to put himself inside the mind of the 19th century composer to understand the manuscript. Now the piece will meet his
public for the first time ever. A ten minute scene will be presented at a BBC world singing competition this summer.
And that's it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online @Amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook and
Twitter. Thanks for watching and good-bye from London.