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British Officials Search for Post-Brexit Deals; Wikipedia Founder on Fighting Fake News; The Iranian-American Destined for the Stars. Aired 2- 2:30p ET

Aired July 25, 2017 - 14:00   ET


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, destination unknown as Britain rolls down that rocky road to Brexit. Lord Kerr wrote Article 50. He

joined us to explain why the whole thing should be called off.

Also ahead, Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, on tackling fake news and partisan warfare in journalism.

Plus, imagine a world that's out of this world. The Iranian-American astronaut who's reaching for the stars.

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

Another day, another shot across the bow from the EU to Britain demanding now details on Brexit, quote, "sooner rather than later," or the talks

could fail.

At the same time, the pro-Brexit U.S. President Donald Trump is touting a sunny future, "Working on a major trade deal with the U.K.," he tweeted

this morning, calling the EU very protectionist.

Trump's top trade official met with his British counterpart Liam Fox. And down under, the U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson hangs for trade with

another former colony New Zealand.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: If I could just make one thing absolutely clear, I said this with blue in the face Brexit is not, was not,

will not be about Britain turning away from the world.


AMANPOUR: Trade experts say, though, it's not that easy. Case in point, Britain is now gripped by one possible casualty of deregulation. Everyone

is asking should post Brexit consumers accept American chickens which are routinely washed in chlorine.

The EU banned that 20 years ago. The EU says the clock is ticking since Britain triggered Article 50 in March. And the man who wrote that divorce

document is Lord John Kerr.

He has also served as ambassador to the United States and the EU, and he joins me here in the studio.

So did you first and foremost ever conceive that Article 50 would be used voluntarily by a nation to leave the EU?

JOHN KERR, FORMER BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO THE EU: Yes, it will be us. I thought it would be -- I can see to the situation where a dictatorship

appeared inside the European Union, perhaps in central Europe east and Europe. And the European Union said you no longer respect the values of

the European Union so we'll cut off your voting rights, which we can. And the dictator walked out in a huff and I thought we needed the procedure for

walking out in a huff, but I didn't think it would be the Brits who would be enough.

AMANPOUR: Well, now the Brits are in a huff. And you have come out very, very strongly saying that this needs to be reversed. Let me just read from

an open letter that you signed.

"We recognized that a narrow majority voted to leave the EU, but the disastrous consequences are becoming clearer every day. Even before the

U.K. has left the EU, we faced falling living standards, rising inflation, slowing growth and lower productivity."

I mean, it does sound awful.

KERR: Well, I think that's where we are, and I think it's going to get worse. And I think public opinion will change.

It seems to me that public opinion will discover that we can't have our cake and eat it with the European Union. I think it will discover that the

talks are going rather badly, may end in no agreement or an agreement that doesn't at all match what the leaders said we would get.

AMANPOUR: Let me ask you, because you know there was this narrow vote. I think it's 52 to leave, 48 to remain. And even now the polls do not show

anywhere near a majority of people changing their mind. Even those who voted remain now say, well, you know what, we voted to it. Let's get on

with it.

Why are you so sure that public opinion will change? And you're not the only one by the way.

KERR: I agree. The polls haven't move significantly. There's no significant change. I think they will in the next 18 month. I think the

crunch comes in winter 18, 19 just before the two year limit when we fall out. There's known agreement.

I think people will by then have spotted that the negotiations have gone very badly. I think by then the economy will have taken more of a hit as

investment slows and inflation rises as everything falls. We've already had three consecutive quarters of actual reductions in reeling terms and

there's more to come.

AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you because there's two. The Sterling has gone down. There has been a reduction in real income. The IMF has just

announced that British growth is stalling. They called it tepid. They said it's actually not growing as they expected and it is being

outperformed by EU countries who Britain was outperforming just a few months ago. So that's one thing.

[14:05:00] But what do you make of the negotiating position of the Brexiteers right now?

KERR: The government which is a coalition of brexiteers and remainers but they feel they are obliged to negotiate Brexit.

The government, I think, making at least two mistakes in the negotiation. I think the other side, the EU is making two mistakes, too. The two being

made by the British.

First, that we have not put forward any blueprint for the future relationship that we envisage when we were outside. We should have done,

because I believe the prime minister when she says that we want to be the closest partner of the European Union and on things like anti-terrorism,

foreign affairs, defense.

I would expect we would want to be in the room next door. But we no longer have a vote on EU policy. We would still want to influence EU policy and

intelligence and energy policy and environment policy.

The Security Council, I would expect that before we vote in the Security Council, we would want to tell our EU friends how we were going to vote and

encourage them to do the same, which we do.

Now I would expect that sort of thing to continue. But he needs an architecture. He needs an institutional structure and we haven't put

forward one.

AMANPOUR: And I am being told by European sources that they believe this whole thing could sort of, you know, collapse or have a major, major

problem when they start talking about the divorce when they come to the real negotiations after the summer break. They haven't even discussed or

got closer on the divorce bill.

KERR: You're right. And I think that the EU had made a mistake in aggregating an enormous divorce bill by putting together all the bids that

they have had from anybody, anywhere in the European Union. 37 countries, the commission proposed a rather smaller turn fall than the one which is

being required to negotiate on.

I think that's a pity, because I think if there is to be a deal, the EU will have to climb down a bit.

We, on the other hand, some of us is still going around saying like foreign secretary, if they want a new money, they can whistle for it. Now that is

very, very silly, because we are not the kind of country that doesn't pay our debts.

AMANPOUR: And now we -- there's a whole -- another potential fantasy or maybe not that's happening on the trade front.

You saw Boris Johnson saying that we absolutely want trade. You've seen Liam Fox in the United States and President Trump tweeting about major

trade deal working out now with the U.K.

Is it that easy? Can that happen? Does even Liam Fox said, you know, we couldn't get it. It would be too optimistic to think we could get that by

the time Brexit is meant to be triggered in 2019.

KERR: I think if there is to be a full trade agreement with the United States, it can't start the negotiation until 2019. It will take a couple

of years or more.

And we shouldn't think that the United States will be a soft touch. I mean, I remember it, you know, if you will speak, it's not very long ago in

which President Trump told us that America was in the state of carnage because there wasn't enough protectionism.

So is he going to give the Brexit sweetheart deal? No.

On agriculture, on pharmaceuticals, on a whole lot of things, the United States will press for more access to our markets than it gets now. Because

we are less of our useful market term when we are only 60 million people rather than 500.

AMANPOUR: We've only got 30 seconds left.

Everybody is taking hope in a transition deal.

What do you make of that?

KERR: I think a transition deal is the most difficult one to do. You need to know what the destination is before you can agree a transition to it.

So the conservatives need first to start negotiating among themselves and produce their definition of what Brexit is going to be.

Is it going to be hard as she sought for the election? Is it going to be soft? In my view, you're either in or you're out. I don't believe in a

soft Brexit. I think a soft Brexit is a slow Brexit. We simply means you go over the cliff more slowly. Stay there and end up on the rock stand


So in my view, the only smart Brexit is no Brexit.

AMANPOUR: And we will see if that comes to pass.

Lord Kerr, thank you very much indeed, author of Article 50.

Now as the cold hard facts start to hit home after Brexit, I'm joined by a man fighting to keep facts safe.

Jimmy Wales, the founder of the Internet sponge of knowledge, Wikipedia, tells me why he is waiting into battle real fake news. That's next.


[14:11:20] AMANPOUR: Welcome back. Today in our daily Trump, the American president appeared before 10th of thousands of boy scouts at their

quadrennial jamboree last night. He delivered a highly politicized speech laced with some profanity.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Do you remember that famous night on television, November 8th? Where they said these dishonest people,

where they said there is no path to victory for Donald Trump.

By the way, just a question. Did President Obama ever come to a jamboree?


AMANPOUR: Remember, these are mostly 12-year-olds. And so many parents were outraged that a celebration of their children's accomplishments became

a platform for a Trump-style rally.

He once again singled out as you heard the dishonest media, purveyors of what he has come to refer to as fake news. But, of course, what he means

is news and truth that he doesn't want to hear.

The real problem is the deliberately misleading planted lies that masquerade and pretend to be news.

That is why Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is launching Wikitribune. It's a collaboration between professional journalist and community volunteers to

collectively produce accurate and breakthrough this cacophony.

I spoke with him just a little earlier.


AMANPOUR: Jimmy Wales, welcome to the program.

Let me read what you have said.

"The news is broken but we figure out how to fix it."

It's a lofty claim.


We were doing a crowd-funding campaign because we wanted to raise money from the public to support the new venture and so we wanted a big bold

claim to get people's attention. I do feel like, particularly online people do feel like something is not quite right. Something is broken.

AMANPOUR: Well, something is very broken. And we are attacked daily and remorselessly by the most powerful leader in the western world or in the

world, which is the president of the United States.

So you've kind of answer the question about how do you pay for it. So this is not about ads. It's not about pay walls.

WALES: That's right. So we're launching with no ads and no pay wall. I've been joking it's a series of bad business decisions but that's how I

made my career. And we really want the leaders to support.

We think that's a really important part of online journalism that's been missing for a long time, which has what has led us really down an unhealthy

path of click-based headlines and error lower quality sort of fluff and nonsense. And that model just isn't working online.

AMANPOUR: This year, Edelman of survey found that trust in the media across 28 countries is at an all-time low, 43 percent. Also found that

online search engines were deemed more reliable than traditional media, which is a reversal from five years ago.

And then, you know, another index, the World Press Freedom Index says that nearly two-thirds, 62.2 percent of countries measured have registered a

deterioration in media freedom over the last year.

WALES: Yes. You know, the overall situation that all media organizations are facing in Turkey is quite dire, but that's also as you say is part of a

broader trend around the world. And even in the U.S. where we have the great strength of the First Amendment, but we're still seeing a lot more

harassment of journalist, a lot more, you know, arrest of journalist who are just trying to cover a story. And you can't convict them for what they

write, but you can sure to make the job harder.

AMANPOUR: Let's get back to Wikitribune, I think it's called, right? The new venture. The new project.

Describe what you meant by filter bubble.

[14:15:00] WALES: Yes. So the issue of filter bubble is most prominent I would say in Facebook. You read the news that's shared by your friends.

Your friends tend to be similar to you, with similar outlooks. And so you end up with this world view that shaped more and more by a certain small

set of ideas, mostly of publications, which is very dangerous.

You know, people have been talking about this idea for years. Back when blogs were everybody was all about blogs. And I said it's not a problem

with blogs. I read a lot of blogs. And a lot of bloggers, they link to things they disagree with just so they can argue about it, right?

And so you are getting exposed to both sides of the argument. That's what it's about. But with the filter bubble, you know, the only thing I'm ever

seeing in my news feed is "The Guardian" and "The New York Times."

My world view may be very different from someone who is only seeing "Breitbart" and "Fox News." And we may have a completely different

understanding of the world that's not healthy for either of us.

AMANPOUR: I want to ask you then about how your volunteers may rub away those sort of partisan edges. I think that a Harvard Business School study

found that the Wikipedia articles are as neutral as Encyclopedia Britannica, but also that the 2.8 million volunteer Wikipedia editors

reviewing the articles become less biased over time. That's a really interesting phenomenon.

WALES: Yes. And it's a really great community. And what happens is because we have certain policies around neutrality, a neutral point of

view, it's a fundamental core policy Wikipedia.

Obviously, it's an aspiration. You know, just as any journalist aspires to that, but sometimes you missed it and so forth, which means that the

community is always very reflective. And if someone comes in and says, oh, hey, you're not reporting.

You know, just because you don't like Donald Trump, you should also say, hey, actually whatever the job figures are better this year than under


And then people have to sort of grapple with that. And so, OK, right. And so we want to have a diversity of sources. We want to be thoughtful and

reflective. And so the community members who are working on that sort of thing get exposed to other ideas.

And because we really push and our community really pushes to say let's have a civil dialogue in the debate. No personal attacks. It's not about

insulting other people.

And this is very different from most online forums where you know it really is just sort of attack, attack, attack.

AMANPOUR: Yes. And then the cable sphere as well.

You're trying to get more neutrality, less partisanship and breakthrough this wall of fake news that's --


AMANPOUR: At least the accusation of fake news.

WALES: One of the things that struck me before I launched this is I was looking at -- on Reddit, a very popular discretion Web site and there's a

sub-read called The Donald.

It's a lot of Donald Trump fans. So I go there sometimes to see what they are thinking and so on.

And somebody was complaining about this biased story on CNN or somewhere. And so what we need is a Wikipedia of news. And I thought, well, that's

interesting that very different politics from mine, from yours, but they thought we just need facts and I think a lot of people feel that way on the

right, on the left, on everywhere.

This idea of, you know, where is the Walter Cronkite? Where is something that we can all trust to say this is the facts?

And now we can have all the policy debate you want. That's perfectly fine. That's democracy.

AMANPOUR: I think you just hit the nail on the head with the facts. The facts is what we need. And people are getting away from that.

WALES: Yes, exactly. And you can imagine my frustration, you know, when Kellyanne Conway said alternative facts. And this idea that we're in a

post-truth world.

And it's like 16 years that I spent my life giving you all a fact-based encyclopedia. You can't say, you know, and it's incredibly public. People

do want facts. There is a demand for it. People really do care.

Right now, when people say the trust in journalism an all time low, they are not expressing we don't care about journalism anymore. They are saying

something here is not working. Like we really want to get back to quality. And I think that's something that all outlets should be listening to.

AMANPOUR: Well, good luck. Good luck.

WALES: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: Jimmy Wales, thank you so much.

WALES: Lovely. Great.


AMANPOUR: And there's an ambitious Wikitribune shoots for the stars. We remember that 33 years ago today, the Russian cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya

became the first woman to spacewalk with the stars.

And next, we imagine another woman and another first, the Iranian-American U.S. Marine becoming the first NASA astronaut with Middle Eastern roots.


[14:21:40] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world so captivated by space travel that an old bag that had been full of moon dust, there it is,

sells for $1.8 million.

That is the price it fetched at auction this week for an owner who had paid less than a thousand dollars for the bag, which had once been used to

actually collect the moon dust by Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon in 1969.

Now nearly 50 years later, we imagine another first for NASA. The first person of Middle Eastern background reaching into the cosmos.

The Iranian-American Marine Major Jasmin Moghbeli joins NASA's new crop of astronauts and she joined me from a busy military base in Arizona to talk

about it.


AMANPOUR: Major Moghbeli, welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: So what happens next? You're about to embark on, I believe, your space walk training or your space training.

What do you expect for the next few days and weeks?

MOGHBELI: So for the training will be two years long and the big topics that we'll cover over those two years are 238 jet flight training, learning

the International Space Station Systems, learning Russian, training in robotics. And then probably I think I'm most excited about is our training

for spacewalks or extravehicular activities in the neutral points.

AMANPOUR: Honestly, it sounds amazing including learning Russian. But have you always wanted to walk in space?

MOGHBELI: Yes. Since sixth grade, I can remember, this is my dream to become an astronaut. And I think there have been times where, you know,

that's been in the forefront in my mind and time where it has been in the background and I focus more on, you know, getting my (INAUDIBLE) or getting

my degree or whatever it was. But it's always kind of something that's resurfaced in the end.

AMANPOUR: Major, you are German by Iranian parents. You are born in Germany of Iranian parents. You are the first American astronaut to have

roots in the Middle East.

What does that mean to you especially as you can imagine in the current climate of travel bans and you know what's going on in the world around us?

MOGHBELI: As a young child who wanted to become an astronaut, or as the young adult who decides to pursue a degree in engineering and go on to join

the Marine Corp and end up here.

It's never something I specifically thought about as any sort of barrier or obstacle in my way. But now on this side of things, I think I can

recognize how important it is to get out and make sure the next generation sees myself and my colleagues of all different backgrounds, all different

experiences so that we don't potentially lose a future brilliant mind because they assumed that, you know, only boys do this job, or only people

of this ethnicity do this job.

So I think now on this end, I can sense the importance of that.

AMANPOUR: So you feel a bit like a flag waver for the cause?

MOGHBELI: Yes. I think it's important for people to see.

You know, the morning of the announcement when myself and my classmate put on our blue flight suits and our family saw us for the first time, the

daughter of one of my classmates said mommies can be astronauts, too.

And I think that really said something important about making sure kids see that there are people of different background, different ethnicities, male,

females in this field and it's something they can do, too.

[14:25:10] AMANPOUR: You are breaking territory and pushing boundaries as a woman.

But you've also done that before even this in a very male-dominated field. I mean, you studied engineering at MIT. You played in a basketball team.

You have been flying helicopter, gunship missions in Afghanistan. The cobras.

Did you ever feel that you were, you know, a fish out of water, or do you think those gender barriers have been broken down sufficiently now?

MOGHBELI: You know, I think, we can still work for it and prove things in terms of the fact that there is still an imbalanced ratio of male to female

in many of those fields as you just mentioned.

But that being said, me, personally, I don't feel like I ever -- it was ever an obstacle for me. All of my male colleagues have always been

welcoming and they've helped me and I tried to help them in turn.

AMANPOUR: Do you think enough girls, and I mean, girls, young girls are on fire about science and are encouraged to take the path that could lead to

where you are or even beyond?

MOGHBELI: I have done some work with stem programs in the local areas. And I can tell you, young girls absolutely are. That being said, I think

it's important to make sure we maintain that as they get hold older and they don't discredit certain career fields because they think mostly only

males do that. But at a young age, I absolutely think they are excited about those things.

AMANPOUR: I can see the excitement and hear it in your voice.

Do you want to actually walk on the moon or another planet? I mean, the moon maybe parse.

MOGHBELI: I think, and you said you can hear the excitement in my voice. You're absolutely right. Especially right now, we are at such an exciting

time where we are talking about going further in the solar system than we've ever gone before. And to me, like I said, at the end of the day, the

earth is just a tiny planet and something so much greater. And it is necessary for our survival to go further in my opinion. This won't last


And so in any way I can contribute to that, whether that means going to the moon, to Mars or somewhere else, I'm eager and very excited to do so and it

would be an honor for me.

AMANPOUR: All right, good luck to you. Major Moghbeli, thanks for joining us today.

MOGHBELI: Thank you. I appreciate it.


AMANPOUR: And if you would like to see around Jasmin's future digs, Google has now mapped out the International Space Station allowing us mortals a

glimpse inside this habitat that's floating 400 kilometers above this earth.

And that is it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast at any time and see us online at, and follow me on

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